Venaani’s ‘nonsense’ disrupts Parliament

03 Apr 2019 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 03 APR (NAMPA) – Chaos erupted in the National Assembly on Wednesday after Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader, McHenry Venaani branded the manner presiding officers conduct proceedings relating to time allocations to opposition members as “nonsense”.
Venaani said he would not allow himself to be pushed around by presiding officers, referring to National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Peter Katjavivi and his deputy, Loide Kasingo, whom he accused as being biased in favour of the ruling party.
Venaani’s frustrations stem from an incident on Tuesday, which saw Katjavivi interject to tell him that his time was up while reacting to the N.dollars 60.1 billion national budget.
This did not sit well with Venaani and he demanded that Katjavivi “buys a stopwatch to accurately determine the time allocated to each member instead of using his own memory as a time gauge”.
Venaani returned to the house on Wednesday, demanding for the stopwatch.
According to Venaani, he spoke for 26 minutes and seven seconds according to his timer, and not Katjavivi’s 45 minutes.
“We are demanding that when time is allocated to opposition parties, there should be a stopwatch in this house. We will not be in this house to be bullied by the presiding officer. Nonsense!” he said before storming out of the chamber.
Shocked by the remark, Members of Parliament could be heard saying “he must withdraw” and that “the remark is not parliamentary”.
As Venaani walked past her on his way out, Swapo Chief Whip Evelyn !Nawases-Taeyele said: “The leader of the official opposition must withdraw the statement.”
At this stage, PDM’s Vipuakuje Muharukua rose to draw the deputy speaker’s attention to !Nawases-Taeyele, who according to him was not granted the floor to make a contribution and was therefore being “unruly”.
“You don’t have the floor! Sit down! She is running the show now. You don’t have the floor. Sit down!” Muharukua yelled pointing at !Nawases-Taeyele.
Kasingo ruled: “If Venaani says the word nonsense is okay, maybe to them (PDM) the word nonsense is okay. Maybe if somebody says nonsense to them, it’s okay!”
International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah was particularly concerned with the precedence being set.
“Can nonsense become a parliamentary word?” she asked.
The minister’s question fell on deaf ears as the house could not reach a consensus.
Venaani then, having returned to the chamber, said the word nonsense was parliamentary and is used in legislative houses across the globe.