Was article 47 violated all along?

17 October 2019 | Columns

All major political parties were jumping around yesterday after hearing that this time around the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) will enforce provisions of article 47 of the Namibian Constitution, as it relates to contesting for seats in the National Assembly.

At the centre is a provision that members of the National Council, regional and local authorities must resign from those bodies upon acceptance of nomination for a National Assembly seat.

Remunerated members of the public service must also resign if they are to accept their nominations, the supreme law of the land further states.

As things stand, it looks as though this constitutional provision has been violated willy-nilly over the years, with impunity. Whether by design or default, there appears to have been a blatant violation of our country’s constitution by politicians who have demonstrated time and again their disregard for the law in general, while displaying an insatiable lust for power.

And now the chickens have come home to roost. Sadly, many political parties that Namibian Sun spoke to yesterday were unrepentant in their belief that candidates must be in line for parliament, while trampling on the very laws they profess to make and abide by.

Nudo secretary-general Joseph Kauandenge, for example, used “interpretation” as an excuse to continue defying the law, possibly because he wants to have his cake and eat it too. Typical of Namibian politicians.

Laws are there to be adhered to, and not to be broken, as is often the pastime joke. And if lawmakers cannot abide by the very laws they make, how would they inspire the greater masses to be obedient citizens of the land?

The media and research institutions must now dig deeper and determine who the chief violators of article 47 were over the years. We must uncover the beneficiaries of this illegality and how much they have stolen from the people of this country through ill-gotten salaries and other perks enjoyed by the political elite of our nation.

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