Amupanda appeals against‘rushed’ passing of critical bills

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Affirmative Repositioning movement leader and former City of Windhoek Mayor, Job Amupanda has urged the National Assembly (NA) to immediately stop the rushing of bills and the subsequent parliamentary debates, he suggested are rushed and without proper consultation.

Amupanda made these demands in a petition addressed to the National Assembly on Friday.

“The National Assembly must subject these bills to the normal process in terms of the relevant provisions of the Standing Rules and Order. It would seem that these bills are set to be passed in the shortest possible time. A face-value reading of some of these bills, since they only became publicly available yesterday, already indicates a need for wider consultations. Wider consultations are needed on these scores, just to mention a few,” said Ampupanda.

This comes after members of the executive tabled urgent bills in the NA for amendment – seemingly to avoid Namibia being greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that need to be passed by parliament by 30 June.

These include the police amendment bill, the criminal procedure amendment bill, the Prevention of organized crime bill, the extradition amendment bill, and the international cooperation in criminal matters amendment bill. Amupanda said the National Assembly did not get ample opportunity to comprehensively review these 13 bills that would affect the livelihood of Namibians.

“It thus stands to reason that the National Assembly is about to pass 13 bills, to affect the life of Namibians whom MPs represent, completely unprepared and without informed debate. It is absolutely clear, as scandalous as it may be and as confirmed by the National Assembly presiding officer, that National Assembly procedures are hastened, and deliberations are being or are to be condensed,” Amupanda added.

Furthermore, he stressed that members of parliament are not carrying out their duties with the highest standards and serving the people and that it is on record that their actions are not guided by the interest of the nation.

In addition to his petition, he said there is no evidence the 13 bills were moved as urgent bills in a manner prescribed by Rule 52 of NA.

‘’Rule 52 of the National Assembly Standing Rules and Orders deal with ‘Urgent Bills’. It states that “on the calling of a motion for leave to introduce a Bill or on consideration of National Council amendments, a Minister may move ‘That the Bill be considered an urgent Bill’. I struggled to find evidence that the 13 bills were moved as urgent bills in a manner prescribed by Rule 52. There is thus no basis to rush these bills, flout processes and conduct uninformed debates,” he stated.

Namibia has been given a year to resolve all findings in order to avoid a targeted Financial Action Task Force review. The country announced last month that it is making steady progress in addressing findings related to its Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism as well as the Proliferation Framework (AML/CFT/CPF) in order to maintain the integrity of the financial system. This is after Namibia underwent a second peer review which was aimed at assessing the country’s compliance with the United Nations Conventions.

Amupanda has since threatened to take legal action, should the demands not be met.

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