By: Eba Kandovazu
PDM parliamentarian Nico Smit says that parliament’s work has been put on hold as a result of parliamentarians “taking another holiday”, a day after Independence Day celebrations.
Smit was responding to the cancellation of Tuesday’s parliament session to allow MPs to travel back from Swakopmund, where they attended Independence Day celebrations on Monday.
“There are things on the house’s agenda, motions that need to be discussed and other discussions on the agenda, but we think it’s good to take another holiday and not sit and do our work. Independence celebrations were on Monday. It didn’t last the whole day. Why couldn’t they travel back last night? They were told not to come back because the cabinet is sitting this morning in Swakopmund. Cabinet with all its staff moved to Swakopmund for the weekend to have cabinet seating there today. For me, this is not good governance because we are wasting money. If you look at the celebrations, what we saw there was not worth N$2.5 million. I don’t know whether the bulk of that money was used. This is how we squander money, which is why our budget looks the way it looks. It is an embarrassment. The backlog is just building up because about 15 or 20 motions will lapse. We have to re-introduce those motions with the next sitting,” Smit said.
Smit, however, defended PDM president McHenry Venaani’s attendance, saying he was merely an invited guest.
“He is not part of the problem. He was invited to attend celebrations. If you are invited to a meeting, you are not responsible for what is happening at that meeting, and you can’t be held responsible because you didn’t set the agenda or program,” Smit stated, adding that Venaani is not part of the cabinet meeting held today.
Parliament Spokesperson David Nahogandja said that the communication to host a cabinet meeting in Swakopmund was already sent out last week and that it should not come as a shock.
“The decision was made because MPs went to attend the celebrations, and that is why today’s session was postponed to tomorrow. No one complained or objected at the time that they are not happy with the postponement of parliament,” Nahogandja stated.