Ailing Ngatjizeko absent from NA for over 100 days

05 Aug 2019 19:00pm
By Edward Mumbuu Jnr
WINDHOEK, 05 AUG (NAMPA) – Former Presidential Affairs Minister, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, has only attended a possible four out of 125 sessions of the National Assembly over the last year-and-a-half, according to information obtained from the August house.
Ngatjizeko was relieved of his duties due to ill health from Cabinet on 21 February 2018, after just 14 days in the position.
He then became an ordinary Member of Parliament (MP).
The assembly had 78 sittings in 2018, and so far this year, the NA met 47 times according to official information.
Immanuel Nehoya of the Office of the Secretary to the NA told Nampa on Monday that information of Ngatijzeko’s absence was communicated [through a motion] by Swapo Party deputy chief whip Julius Hambyuka.
“He is off until further notice because he is not feeling well,” he said.
Dated 26 March 2019, the motion Nehoya was referring to is also in Nampa’s possession.
When contacted, Hambyuka reiterated the content of his motion.
“My motion is very clear. The further notice period does not lapse,” he said before directing questions on Ngatjizeko’s future in the NA to Swapo’s Secretary-General Sophia Shaningwa.
Shaningwa, on her part, before noting that she was not at ease to deal with the media, said: “Are you part and parcel of Parliament? Who told you [about Ngatjizeko’s absence]? You are very naughty. Orig!”
Asked about Swapo’s position on a member who has been absent from his duties for over 100 days, she said: “Ngatjizeko is not absent without leave (AWOL). Ngatjizeko is reporting to us. His doctor is reporting to us. I don’t report to the media. I also do not celebrate when other people are sick; I sympathise [with them].”
This agency then contacted Ngatjizeko to establish his health state and if he would return when the assembly resumes on 10 September 2019.
“I am sick,” was all he said.
Leader of the official opposition in the NA, PDM’s McHenry Venaani described the former minister's staying away from the NA as a “delicate matter since it concerns [the] ill-health of a leader”.
“We have no record of his recovery, thus we can humanly wish him well and a speedy recovery. There is no law that forces one to leave office if there is no medical certificate certifying retirement on ill health, so it’s a delicate matter,” he said in response to questions on his party’s position on the matter.
According to the constitution, an MP shall for among other reasons relinquish membership if they cease to be members of the political party which nominated them or if they are absent during sittings of the NA for 10 consecutive days without having obtained special leave.
Should a member vacate their seat, the political party which nominated such a member to sit in the NA shall be entitled to fill that vacancy by nominating a person on the party’s election list compiled for the previous general election.
In the event that Ngatijizeko vacates his seat, Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun is next in line to fill his position according to Swapo’s 2014 election list.
The last session of the 9th session of the 6th Parliament is 28 November 2019.