They don't learn, do they?

24 February 2020 | Opinion

Swapo drew the ire of the public, including its own members, following reports that its member of parliament and former minister of education Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has been appointed to the parliamentary committee on constitutional and legal affairs.

In law, there is absolutely nothing wrong with her appointment, but morally, there is everything wrong with this move.

The former minister was convicted of corruption just a few months – not years – ago. And while it is fair to say she has paid her dues in the form of a fine that was imposed on her, the country is at the moment in a critical hour of introspection as more corruption gets uncovered.

Swapo has recalled two ministers from Parliament for being accused of and arrested for alleged corruption. The party, in trying to show steel and intolerance against corruption, even went as far as scrapping the names of Bernhardt Esau and Sacky Shanghala from the list of the upcoming Parliament.

But Hanse-Himarwa, fresh out of the dock and whose footprints are still visible at the entrance of the High Court, gets appointed to a committee of constitutional and legal affairs, of all committees. This is a moral scandal.

How she accepted the appointment herself also leaves a huge question mark over her ability to read situations as a leader who is supposed to command better judgement and sense how infuriated the public already is over her deeds.

Has Swapo completely ran out of members in Parliament who could have been appointed to this committee ahead of a fresh corruption convict? Are we saying the three new members who were sworn in recently are already serving on committees and thus couldn't be appointed?

Also, with the current Parliament's term expiring in less than a month, what was the urgency of appointing anyone to any committee? What rare constitutional and legal skills does the disgraced former minister possess that this appointment was such a no-brainer?

The country is hanging onto its moral compass by its fingernails and instead of tightening our grip onto it, we are actually further letting go.

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