8 November 2018

Namibia: Katjavivi Vindicates Kuugongelwa-Amadhila

National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi has cleared prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila of any wrongdoing in the utterances she directed to a fellow parliamentarian who regarded them as derogatory and demeaning.

Last week, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said during a heated debate in the National Assembly that Swanu is "intolerant and inflexible" while pointing at its representative, Usutuaije Maamberua.

On Tuesday, after having analysed the verbal exchanges between the two, Katjavivi concluded that Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had not transgressed any rule of the National Aseembly.

Katjavivi pointed specifically to Rule 116 (e) in the National Assembly's standing rules and orders which reads: 'A member may not use offensive or unbecoming words against the presiding member, the assembly or proceedings or in the referencing to any member thereof'.

Katjavivi had initially asked Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to retract the remarks she made to Maamberua.

"I intervened and directed the prime minister to draw a distinction between Swanu the party and Maamberua during the exchanges between the two," he said.

He added: "However, in the furtherance of the discussion, the prime minister said these words to elaborate what exactly she meant earlier on ... he [Maamberua] does not show tolerance to other people ..."

Katjavivi concluded: "Truly, none of these expressions fall within the category of unparliamentary language, and therefore, I would request that we put the entire matter to rest."

The prime minister is on record as telling Maamberua that "yes, you are intolerable", which did not sit well with him.

"Do you allow a member to degrade the person of another member?" Maamberua said while pointing at Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Thursday.

However, she was firm in her position that she would not retract anything.

"I will not withdraw. But I will say I extend a hand of friendship to the colleague there (pointing at Maamberua), and I am not going to use that terminology anymore," she said.

On Tuesday , Maamberua was unimpressed with the speaker's ruling, indicating he is a student of 'Maoism'.

The politician, who felt hard done by Katjavivi, said: "I don't just continue fighting battles. I retreat in order to fight battles next time. I don't just stay with one battle. Where it is necessary, strategically and tactically, I retreat."

Katjavivi also advised that during the conduct of business in the National Assembly, its members must always observe rules with diplomacy and courtesy.

- Nampa

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