MPs abandon National Assembly after tea

10 April 2019 | Government

There is a growing trend in the National Assembly of parliamentarians reporting for duty as expected but leaving halfway through the session.

This often leaves too few members to constitute a quorum for voting on any issues.

This tendency derailed the resumption of the reconsideration debate on the Public Enterprises Governance Bill last week.

Statistics obtained from officials at the National Assembly reveal that last Tuesday 76 voting and seven non-voting members showed up for the first half of the session, while 19 members with voting powers were absent.

On Wednesday, 61 voting members and five non-voting members were present at the commencement of the assembly, while 34 MPs with decision-making powers were absent

Thursday saw 53 members with voting powers and four non-voting members turning up for the first half of the session. The statistics show that 42 politicians with voting rights were absent on the day.

Often some MPs fail to return to the chamber after the tea break at 15:30.

When it came to the resumption of debate of the Public Enterprises Governance Bill, which has been on the order paper for two weeks, the voting quorum could not be reached.

The Namibian constitution requires the presence of 49 MPs entitled to vote, other than the presiding officer. When contacted for comment, public enterprises minister Leon Jooste dismissed claims that the bill, which would give him more power over parastatals, was being sabotaged.

“This bill is of fundamental importance for Namibia.

The related urgency is exponentially more important under our current economic circumstances, where the reform of our SOEs is a non-negotiable element to restore economic growth,” Jooste added.

NAMPA

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