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By: Kelvin Chiringa

Youthful member of parliament Patience Masua demonstrated her no-nonsense attitude when she lashed out at a fellow member during a heated debate on a motion on youth unemployment.

A visibly angry Masua lost patience and, along with it, temper on the Republican Party’s chief whip, Herlinde Tjivere, whom she accused of bully tactics bordering on the age difference between the two.

This was in the middle of an engagement with the lawmaker, Vipua Muharukua, who was questioning Masua on the issue of how Agribank’s free collateral loans were aiding young people when they were landless.

However, Masua visibly showed her frustration at the constant interjections coming from Muharukua.

Soon after Muharukua’s submission Tjivere and Masua plunged into a verbal fistfight in which the latter slammed the former for belittling her.

Although Tjivere is not audible, she soon realised that she had labelled Masua a child and could not let it go.

“You’re wrong! No, you’re wrong! It’s because you’ve children. You can’t treat someone like that,” she lashed out at her.

Tjivere could be seen pointing fingers at Masua as Speaker of parliament Professor Peter Katjavivi struggled to get the house back on its rails.

“Honorable Speaker, I will not be bullied by adults who tell me that they have children my age. No, I am equally a member of this house as you are!! No! I am equally a member, just as you are! No one is bullying you; how can I bully a grown woman like you? Are you mad? How can I bully a grown woman like you? No!” she lashed out.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani calmed tempers when he rose and called for the respect of members of the house despite the age difference.

While doing so, Tjivere could be seen continuously pointing at Masua, who is now regaining her composure out of the exasperation.

Lawmaker Evelin Nawases Tayele could be heard jabbing at Tjivere and accusing her of being provocative on the back end.

“Honorable Nawases Tayele, keep quiet. You’re a senior member of the house. Honourable Speaker, let’s respect one another. Indeed, young people of this house should not be referred to as children.

“Young people must be respected in the house. They are members that have equal rights like all of us. That is very true. And let’s not refer to each other as small children. It’s quite demeaning, I came here young, and I have endured it, and I will not sit here and allow young people to be bullied. But young people too, when you speak to elders, you must also tone it down,” he said.

Despite the submission, the house went haywire as Masua stood up to continue her point.

Stuck in between proceeding and a speaker shouting for order, labour minister Utoni Nujoma attempted to come to her rescue before sitting down.

“As a presiding officer, can I have my say!!! Please sit down, please!! I am not going to allow it… take it from me now. I will not allow further interruptions. I am giving her (Masua) the floor on the note that we should respect each other. Whatever age, you are all called honourable members of this house. We owe each other that respect,” he pleaded.

Meanwhile, Masua’s submission on the unemployment motion was that the government was doing what it could to help the situation.

“The only challenge that we continue to face now is aligning the educational and training output with the industry demands of our country’s economy, and we agree on that.

“It is commendable that the DBN has over the last financial year provided N$209 million for youth enterprises, and the DBN is administering a skills-based lending facility, Hon. Muharukua for youth between the ages of 18 and 35,” she said.

Muharukua submitted that Masua should interrogate the impediments young people face regarding access to loans and agro-business opportunities.

“Speaking on behalf of what you said “my government”… Agribank has this collateral-free loan what the problem is? Does Agribank have the money or (is it) just a guarantee by the government, practically?

“Does Agribank speedily process these applications? These are the things from your perspective that one would want to hear because one thing that was said by the Honourable Hengari and which is also quite true is that there is no point in telling 10 young people you have collateral-free loans, come, and get a million dollars each to do agriculture. Still, there is no land for agriculture because some ministers… ok, ok, let me come back,” he said, cutting his sentence short as the Speaker interjected him.

In the meantime, MP. Utaara Mootu watered-down Masua’s arguments say she was over-emphasising the Covid-19 as why young people were jobless.

“If you look at 2017, it’s about 41% of unemployment in 2017 before Covid-19. Now she must outline the government’s policy interventions that continuously failed till now 2021 and what difference her government will make after Covid-19. I do not see any form of way forward in the statement that she is saying. Maybe I could not understand her good English,” she said.

The motion was brought by PDM’s Inna Hengari in the National Assembly and is currently being debated by the house.



Kelvin Chiringa

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