MPs abandon NA after tea

09 Apr 2019 06:50am
WINDHOEK, 09 APR (NAMPA) – There is a growing trend in the National Assembly of Parliamentarians reporting for duty as expected, but forsaking the august house halfway through, often leaving it near-empty and unable to pass bills or take major decisions.
Remaining Members of Parliament (MPs) normally then do not fulfil the necessary numbers to constitute a meeting of the National Assembly (NA) when any voting is required.
This tendency, which Nampa has been observing closely, in recent days derailed the resumption of the reconsideration debate on the Public Enterprises Governance Bill.
Statistics obtained from officials at the NA reveal that last week Tuesday, 76 voting and seven non-voting members showed up for the first half of the session, while 19 members with voting powers were absent.
On Wednesday, 61 voting members and five non-voting members were present at commencement of the assembly while 34 MPs with decision-making powers were not in attendance.
Thursday saw 53 members with voting and four non-voting members pitching for the first half. The statistics at hand show that 42 politicians with voting rights were absent on the day.
Often, some MPs fail to return to the chamber after the tea break at 15h30.
When it came to the resumption of reconsideration of the Public Enterprises Governance Bill, which has been on the order for two weeks, the voting quorum could not be met.
The Namibian Constitution requires the presence of 49 MPs entitled to vote, other than the presiding officer.
When contacted for comment, Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste dismissed claims that the Bill, which will among other things give him more powers over parastatals, is being sabotaged.
He added that the legislature should not be narrowed to him.
“This Bill is of fundamental importance for Namibia. The related urgency is exponentially more important under our current economic circumstances where the reform of our SOEs is a non-negotiable element to restore economic growth,” said Jooste.