Demonstrators hand over petition to Parliament

13 Jan 2014 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JAN (NAMPA) - A small group of Windhoek residents held a peaceful demonstration in the capital this afternoon against the proposed construction of a new multimillion dollar Parliament building.
Reports carried by local English daily 'The Namibian' last week had it that a feasibility study that was commissioned by the National Assembly (NA) has estimated that Government will have to fork out N.dollars 700 million for the construction of a new Parliament building.
The group of close to 100 mostly young people marched from the Windhoek Central Police Station through Independence Avenue to Parliament where they handed a petition over to the acting Secretary of the National Assembly, Findley Harker.
The group’s public relations officer, Victor Mabuku said they collected 800 signatures for the petition.
He said another demonstration will be held soon.
Vilen Hifindaka, the demonstrators’ spokesperson, said the demonstration was held in order to propose that the funds intended for the construction of a new Parliament building should instead be diverted to address issues of national urgency instead.
“We stand not as races or political parties but as a Namibian nation. This is our first stand against government. This is our money and therefore, it shall not be squandered. We cannot stand for this while patients are sitting on hospital floors, and children crammed up in classrooms while provision is made for one chair for every parliamentarian,” he said.
In the petition, the protestors suggested that the funds rather be used for the construction of new State hospitals and clinics, as well as for the renovation of existing medical facilities in order to ensure access to affordable and quality healthcare for all citizens.
The petition also made reference to the cost of housing in Namibia, and proposed that certain rates be implemented for housing and price control measures be implemented which will be affordable for all citizens.
The group also proposed that the money instead be used for the electrification of rural households, saying it makes the suggestion “against the backdrop of 54 per cent of all Namibian households still using wood or charcoal for cooking and only 42 per cent of Namibian households using electricity for lighting as per the population and housing census carried out by the Namibia Statistics Agency” in 2011.
The Namibian quoted the Secretary to the National Assembly, Jakes Jacobs as saying the new Parliament building will be located behind the current one.
It is reported that the feasibility study for the construction of the new building was done last year by Claud Bosch Architects and the company was paid N.dollars 500 000 for their work.