Andrew Kathindi

Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leaders, Bernardus Swartbooi and Henny Seibeb, did not attend the Standing Committee on Privileges and Immunities hearing today, Parliament has revealed.

The hearing which was concluded today, chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, was focused on their conduct on 15 April during a question and answer session after President Hage Geingob delivered his State of the Nation Address. “They were not in attendance, they chose rather to send their legal representatives. The hearing was concluded unless something else should come up. A report will now be concluded to be submitted to the chamber when it reopens,” Parliament’s spokesperson, David Nahogandja tells Windhoek Observer.

The two’s absence seems to be a change of heart after LPM’s Spokesperson, Eneas Emvula, last week told Windhoek Observer that they would attend the hearing. They previously also skipped a disciplinary process at Parliament over the same matter, raising concerns that they found procedural abnormalities.

Emvula says he was yet to gather information on what transpired. The hearing is an outflow from a scuffle when Geingob’s Head of Security, Johan Ndjaronguru, forcefully removing Seibeb from the chambers during Geingob’s State of the Nation Address. By then Swartbooi had excused himself from the chambers. Subsequently the two have been suspended from the chambers.

A witness in today’s hearing, Ndjaronguru claimed that the parliamentary mace, which Swartbooi flipped over when he was asked to leave the chamber, has a spike metal head which could have inflicted serious injury to the President.

According to his sworn statement to the National Assembly, in possession of the Windhoek Observer, Ndjaronguru, says he forcefully removed Seibeb, from the chambers after “it was evident the situation would turn into a dangerous one if not put under immediate control.”

“Observing from my seat, it became very evident to me that this situation has not only become volatile, but could also escalate into a situation, which will endanger the life and wellbeing of the President, in particular, as well as the Vice President, HE Nangolo Mbumba and First Lady, Monica Geingos, since the President was clearly the primary focus of their increasing anger.”

The report and final decision are due once Parliament reopens. The sessions have been put on an indefinite break due to the rising numbers in COVID-19 cases with a number of MPs having left Windhoek. No date has been set yet for reopening. The Supreme Court tomorrow hears the appeal against a High Court ruling upholding Katjavivi’s indefinite ban of the LPM leaders.