The official launch of the Parliamentarian Practice and Conduct Course of Members of Parliament in the National Council took place yesterday, 9 May 2022 at Parliament. Speaking at the event, the Chairperson of the National Council Hon. Lukas Muha stated that a program of this nature enhances the general understanding of the separation of powers and of constitutional supremacy. The Chairperson implored on the 2022 intake to commit themselves to the work ahead, to read their material, to fully participate when required and to prepare well for all tests and examinations. A former graduate of the course, Hon. Muha said that the content and course exceeded his expectations. “Learning is a continuous process. The National Council will benefit through the knowledge and skills acquired by all the course participants”, said Hon. Muha.
Secretary to the National, Adv. Tousy Namiseb, who also served as the Director of Ceremony at the event highlighted the importance of capacity building for Members of Parliament, particularly in areas concerning the core functions as mandated by the Namibian Constitution.
Unam Vice Chancellor, Prof Kenneth Matengu, in remarks read on his behalf by Pro-Vice Chancellor Doctor Ellen Namhila, acknowledged the cordial relationship between the National Council as a House of Parliament and the University of Namibia, particularly with respect to the Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) entered into by the two institutions. Doctor Namhila further stated that it was important that law makers had some fundamental knowledge on law, hence the certificate in Parliamentary Practice and Conduct which is tailor made for National Council and aids in the execution of their constitutional mandate.
A graduate of the programme, Hon. John Likando, shared his experience of having undergone the coursework and narrated how it has helped his contributions to national development as a Member of Parliament. Hon. Likando stated that the exposure, knowledge and capacity gained as a direct result of the program is an eye opener and has raised the level of debate and review function in the National Council, moving it away from what some perceived to be a mere “rubber stamp institution”, to one that now has the full capacity to effectively review legislation and oversee the executive.
The course is offered under the Faculty of Commerce, Management and Law of the University of Namibia and offers the following modules; Customary Law, The Role of Parliament in a Constitutional Democracy, Administrative Law, Legislative Drafting, Constitutional Law and English for Academic Purposes. The six-month course, which starts today, comprises 26 of the 42 Members of the National Council and will end in November.
The course was last offered in 2018 to Members of the 5th National Council. At the time, 98% of all enrolled Members of Parliament completed the course successfully.
Also present at the ceremony were Members of Parliament in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) of South Africa, who are on a week-long study visit to the National Council.