Swapo MPs mum during question time
Swapo MPs mum during question time

Swapo MPs mum during question time

Jana-Mari Smith
JANA-MARI SMITH

Only one Swapo MP asked questions last year during National Assembly question-and-answer sessions (Q&As).

An overview, which forms of a study by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), authored by Max Weylandt and Ndeapo Wolf, showed that out of 159 parliamentary questions, only eight (around 5%) were asked by Swapo, and all by one MP, Veikko Nekundi.

This reduces the Q&A mechanism to a “cross-party accountability measure rather than a legislative-executive one”, the study found.

The Q&A sessions nevertheless “exemplify the best and the worst of Namibian democracy”.

The IPPR noted that the lack of accountability could ultimately be rooted in a “more profound structural issue: namely, the dominance of Swapo in the National Assembly”.

This is because the vast majority of MPs are members of the ruling party and as such members of the executive, who are tasked to provide answers to questions.

The study into the strength and weaknesses of Q&A sessions found that although accountability is touted as one of the key benefits, the system faces numerous obstacles that weaken the mechanism’s effectiveness as an accountability tool.

Although there are challenges, including a narrow focus on interests and a lack of resources and skills, which often lead to ineffective questions, and although ministers “can find ways to skirt accountability”, it is an “imperfect instrument, but one that shows its latent promise nonetheless”, the paper concluded.

One of the promising aspects of the Q&A mechanism is that it provides a “regular ritual of accountability”, which has “normalised the practice of questioning government officials’ performances”.

The importance of this should not be understated,” the authors found.

Ask away

Most of the questions posed last year came from the opposition, led by the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), with a total of 65 questions.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) submitted 46 questions.

The fewest questions were from the Workers Revolutionary Party and the United People’s Movement (UPM), which each submitted one question each.

With 46 questions, financial mismanagement questions dominated, followed by 39 on the economy and employment and 35 related to constituency issues.

Maladministration (28 questions) and agriculture and environment questions (22) also topped the question themes last year.

The UDF’s Apius Auchab led the pack of MPs who dominated questions, submitting a quarter or a total of 42 of all questions during the year.

He was followed with 22 questions by the PDM’s Jennifer van den Heever, 14 by Nico Smit from the same party and 13 posed by Mike Kavekotora of the Rally of Democracy (RDP).

Female voices

Overall, only three questions were related to gender, with two belonging to Van den Heever - one on gender-based violence and the other to child marriage.

The third gender-related question was posed by the Auchab on the topic of breastfeeding.

And while women MPs of opposition parties were well-represented in posing questions, the lack of female voices among Swapo MPs represented the overall lack of engagement in the asking process within the party.

“None of Swapo’s 21 women backbenchers asked a question in 2017.”

The IPPR paper found that although women’s issues were a marginal topic, it reflects trends in other countries with high female representation, including Britain, where a low number of questions are related to women’s issues.

And while troubling, women MPs overall raised a broad range of topics during parliamentary question time, including the land resettlement scheme, illicit capital outflows and tax evasion, suggesting they are willing and prepared to tackle a wide range of relevant topics, and not necessary restricting themselves to gender issues.

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Namibian Sun 2024-03-01

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H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSerieA: Internazionale 4 vs 0 Atalanta | Sassuolo 1 vs 6 Napoli FA Cup: Liverpool 3 vs 0 Southampton | Nottingham Forest 0 vs 1 Manchester United | Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 vs 0 Brighton & Hove Albion | Chelsea 3 vs 2 Leeds United | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Newcastle United | Luton Town 2 vs 6 Manchester City | AFC Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Leicester City Katima Mulilo: 18° | 36° Rundu: 18° | 37° Eenhana: 21° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 37° Ruacana: 20° | 36° Tsumeb: 20° | 35° Otjiwarongo: 20° | 33° Omaruru: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Gobabis: 21° | 34° Henties Bay: 18° | 22° Wind speed: 18km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 12:25, High tide: 06:24, Low Tide: 00:25, High tide: 18:45 Swakopmund: 17° | 18° Wind speed: 24km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:22, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:43 Walvis Bay: 18° | 23° Wind speed: 32km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:21, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:42 Rehoboth: 20° | 32° Mariental: 25° | 35° Keetmanshoop: 24° | 34° Aranos: 24° | 36° Lüderitz: 15° | 28° Ariamsvlei: 26° | 38° Oranjemund: 15° | 23° Luanda: 27° | 29° Gaborone: 19° | 38° Lubumbashi: 16° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 32° Maseru: 17° | 32° Antananarivo: 17° | 22° Lilongwe: 18° | 27° Maputo: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Cape Town: 19° | 23° Durban: 17° | 29° Johannesburg: 18° | 33° Dar es Salaam: 26° | 32° Lusaka: 16° | 29° Harare: 15° | 31° Currency: GBP to NAD 24.11 | EUR to NAD 20.68 | CNY to NAD 2.67 | USD to NAD 19.09 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.34 | EGP to NAD 0.61 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.8 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.85 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.5 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.84 | USD to KES 145.48 | USD to NGN 1543.58 | USD to ZAR 19.1 | USD to ZMW 23.57 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 72204.56 Down -1.28% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1504.77 Down -1.33% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13031.16 Down -0.78% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 28964.41 Up +0.30% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9009.48 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 084.05/OZ UP +1.94% | Copper US$ 3.83/lb UP +0.47% | Zinc US$ 2 428.60/T DOWN -0.24% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.55/BBP UP +2.24% | Platinum US$ 884.33/OZ UP +0.62% Sport results: H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSerieA: Internazionale 4 vs 0 Atalanta | Sassuolo 1 vs 6 Napoli FA Cup: Liverpool 3 vs 0 Southampton | Nottingham Forest 0 vs 1 Manchester United | Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 vs 0 Brighton & Hove Albion | Chelsea 3 vs 2 Leeds United | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Newcastle United | Luton Town 2 vs 6 Manchester City | AFC Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Leicester City Weather: Katima Mulilo: 18° | 36° Rundu: 18° | 37° Eenhana: 21° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 37° Ruacana: 20° | 36° Tsumeb: 20° | 35° Otjiwarongo: 20° | 33° Omaruru: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Gobabis: 21° | 34° Henties Bay: 18° | 22° Wind speed: 18km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 12:25, High tide: 06:24, Low Tide: 00:25, High tide: 18:45 Swakopmund: 17° | 18° Wind speed: 24km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:22, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:43 Walvis Bay: 18° | 23° Wind speed: 32km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 12:23, High tide: 06:21, Low Tide: 00:23, High tide: 18:42 Rehoboth: 20° | 32° Mariental: 25° | 35° Keetmanshoop: 24° | 34° Aranos: 24° | 36° Lüderitz: 15° | 28° Ariamsvlei: 26° | 38° Oranjemund: 15° | 23° Luanda: 27° | 29° Gaborone: 19° | 38° Lubumbashi: 16° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 32° Maseru: 17° | 32° Antananarivo: 17° | 22° Lilongwe: 18° | 27° Maputo: 21° | 35° Windhoek: 19° | 30° Cape Town: 19° | 23° Durban: 17° | 29° Johannesburg: 18° | 33° Dar es Salaam: 26° | 32° Lusaka: 16° | 29° Harare: 15° | 31° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 24.11 | EUR to NAD 20.68 | CNY to NAD 2.67 | USD to NAD 19.09 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.34 | EGP to NAD 0.61 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.8 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.85 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.5 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.84 | USD to KES 145.48 | USD to NGN 1543.58 | USD to ZAR 19.1 | USD to ZMW 23.57 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 72204.56 Down -1.28% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1504.77 Down -1.33% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13031.16 Down -0.78% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 28964.41 Up +0.30% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9009.48 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 084.05/OZ UP +1.94% | Copper US$ 3.83/lb UP +0.47% | Zinc US$ 2 428.60/T DOWN -0.24% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.55/BBP UP +2.24% | Platinum US$ 884.33/OZ UP +0.62%