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New MPs sworn in, 07 January 2020

Newly sworn in Swapo MPs, Hons (fltr). Ephraim Nekongo, Martha Namundjebo Tilahun and Joel Kaapanda taking the oath of office during the swearing in ceremony in the National Assembly chamber

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Windhoek - Four Swapo members were sworn in yesterday (06/01/2020) as members of Parliament in the National Assembly by the Chief Justice, His honour Peter Shivute in accordance with Article 48 (2) of the Namibian Constitution. They are Hons. Martha Namundjebo Tilahun, Joel Kaapanda, Festus Marenga and Ephraim Nekongo. The latter was appointed by his excellency, President Hage Geingob as a non-voting member in terms of Article 32 (5) (c ) of the constitution replacing Hon. Pendukeni Iivula Ithana who has become a voting member. The three other MPs are drawn from the 2014 Swapo party list. Their term of office ends in March this year.

The seats were left vacant by former members of parliament, Bernad Esau, Sacky Shanghala, Jerry Ekandjo and Sebastian Karupu due to resignations.

 

IPU President visits Namibia, 03 January 2020

Gabriela Cuevas Barron lays a wreath at the Heroes’Acre in the company of Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi and Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Bernard Sibalatani.

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Windhoek - The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron is in Namibia for a four – day visit that is meant to strengthen relations with IPU Member countries and discuss initiatives the world’s parliamentary body has undertaken in the region. She was received today (03/02/2020) by the Presiding officers of Parliament, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi and Hon. Bernard Sibalatani.

The Mexican lawmaker, who was elected in October 2017 with overwhelming support from the African geopolitical group, is further expected to hold meetings with the Ministry of Gender equality and child welfare and President Hage Geingob among others. She visited the heroes’ acre today where she laid wreaths on the graves of late Speakers of the National Assembly, Hons. Moses Tjitendero and Theo Ben Gurirab. Baron who is also the youngest MP to hold that position since the organisation’s formation, praised Namibia’s democracy and added that the country has been an active member of the body.

Namibia joined the IPU shortly after independence in 1990 and has been actively involved in the work of the organization through the latter’s annual meetings and other activities. The 99th session of the IPU was hosted in Namibia and late former Namibian Speaker, Theo Ben Gurirab once served as the body’s President from 2008 to 2011.

The current Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Katjavivi forms part of the executive in the committee on United Nations Affairs that connects parliaments with UN activities and goals. Former chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams also served the IPU Bureau of Women Parliamentarians for two consecutive terms as its President until 2018.

 

Namibian MPs have contributed in several debates and resolutions, the latest being an emergency resolution at the 140th IPU Assembly in Doha, Qatar that called for urgent action to support people of the countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe that were devastated by Cyclone Idai and the lifting of Namibia’s blacklisting with several other countries as tax havens by the European Union.

The IPU Assembly that was founded in 1889 and has been in existence for more than 130 years, is a global organization of parliaments that brings together parliamentarians to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action.

Namibian Constitution celebrated, 11 February 2020

Some of the surviving members of the drafting committee of the Constitution. Seated fltr, Prof. Mburumba Kerina, Hon. Dirk Mudge, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi. Standing fltr, Dr. Ben Amadhila, Hon. Nahas Angula, Hon. Hartmut Ruppel, Hon. Pendukeni Iivula Ithana, Adv. Vekuii Rukoro, Dr. Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, Hon. Andrew Matjila and Hon. Willem Biwa.

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Windhoek - The 30th anniversary of the adoption of Namibia’s Constitution was marked on the 9th of February under the theme “The Namibian Constitution – Thirty years on: A reflection”.

Speaking at an event organized by the Office of the Ombudsman to commemorate the historic moment in Namibia’s history, Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Professor, Peter Katjavivi hailed Namibia’s supreme law, noting that it was inclusive and progressive. “Our constitution is respected and appreciated at home and abroad, as one of the most forward looking constitutions in the world. It protects the dignity and fundamental rights of all persons, including the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in peace and unity”, said Katjavivi.

Katjavivi formed part of the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly that represented political parties that had just participated in the first free and fair elections held in November 1989, tasked to write Namibia’s Constitution. Namibia’s current President, H.E. Hage Geingob was chairman of the committee. The Constitution came into force on 21 March 1990 when Namibia became independent.

The Speaker noted that as part of the commemorations, the National Assembly in partnership with Gondwana Collection, a locally based Namibian organization, invited some of the surviving members of the Constitution drafting committee to look back at the drafting of the constitution and interrogate its progress. The surviving members that sat in the Constitution room at the National Assembly where the document was drafted included Hon. Dirk Mudge, Hon. Nahas Angula, Hon. Hartmut Ruppel, Dr. Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, Hon. Pendukeni Iivula Ithana, Prof. Mburumba Kerina, Hon. Andrew Matjila, Hon. Dirk Mudge, Adv. Vekuii Rukoro, Hon. Willem Biwa and Dr. Ben Amadhila.

 

Hon. Katjavivi reiterated that the Constitution called for the separation of powers among the three distinct organs of the state to provide for checks and balances. He urged Namibian citizens to empower themselves to be able to contribute to the country’s socio economic development.

Deputy President of the French Senate Calls for Strengthened Cooperation with

Hon. Bernard Sibalatani (center), flanked by Hon. Valéry Létard, Deputy speaker of the French Senate to the left and French Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Claire Bodonyi to the right and other members of the delegation

 

  Story by Pamela Mate

Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Bernard Sibalatani was met by a delegation from France, led by the visiting Deputy President of the French Senate, Hon. Valéry Létard in the National Council Administration building yesterday (10 February 2020). The Hon. Deputy President called on renewed ties between the two countries in order to ensure that the friendship the two countries enjoy is re-affirmed and bears fruit.

Hon. Sibalatani welcomed the delegation, stating that there exists a number of bilateral agreements between the two countries that must be revived. The National Council Chairperson further echoed the sentiments of Hon. Létard by calling for collaboration and cooperation between the French Senate and the National Council.

Hon. Létard is leading a delegation of French business leaders in the ports industry as well as agricultural industry who are keen to explore areas of cooperation with Namibia. Also in the delegation was French Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Claire Bodonyi.

 

Research is backbone of parliament – Speaker, 17 February 2020

Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (third from left) during the opening of the research training workshop. On the far left is Dr. Tilman Hoppe, Legal adviser (Bundestag), Andrea Kerstges, Director for research (Bundestag), Thomas Keller, Country Head KAS, Lydia Kandetu, Secretary to National Assembly and Holger Scheerer, Director of Library Services (Bundestag).

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Windhoek - Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi has reiterated the importance of parliamentary research, noting that it is the backbone of parliament and an important aspect for sharpening debates and the oversight function.

Hon. Katjavivi said this when he officially opened a one-week research training workshop for parliament staff today (17/02/2020). The workshop, organized by the Kondrad Adenaeur Stiftung and facilitated by experts from the German Parliament emanates from an earlier visit by Hon. Katjavivi to the German Bundestag in February last year, where cooperation agreements between the two parliaments were sealed.

According to Katjavivi, improved parliamentary research has the potential to solve challenges facing the country. “We need our parliament to deepen and strengthen its research capabilities in order to sharpen the level of debates. We believe that parliamentary debates assisted by the application of factual information will adequately address the challenges that our nation may be facing at any given time”, stated Katjavivi.

The Speaker noted that in order to achieve that aspiration, parliamentary researchers should be well equipped with the necessary skills and competences. “Parliamentary researchers should be of a high level of competence so as to effectively facilitate parliamentarians to perform oversight responsibilities. We need researchers who understand research methodologies at least at graduate level and who are able to discharge their duties professionally governed by ethics”, said Katjavivi.

 

He further emphasized the importance of the parliament library in reinforcing parliament’s research abilities, adding that it is a useful resource for both houses of parliament.

The training will end of Friday (21/02/2020)

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