Popular Democratic Movement Parliamentarian, Elma Dienda said parliamentarians are failing to be proactive as they continuously repeat talking points in parliamentary sessions. She has since urged MPs to “up their game”.
She also said that members move on to new discussions without successfully concluding the previous discussions. She said this during a parliament session yesterday while contributing to a motion calling for flood control measures and an approach to flood management in flood-prone areas. The discussion follows the recent floods experienced in northern Namibia.
“It is time that we become awake to the situation and not act after something has happened. We must find mitigating ways to be prepared when faced with situations like this and not be caught off guard. Members need to do better so that they are not remembered as salary collectors who did the bare minimum to bring about tangible results to the masses who voted for them in the first place. As a legislative body, we cannot only be debating issues and once concluded, it ends there. There must be follow-ups and clear directives as to how the issue being debated will be dealt with irrespective of political affiliation,” she said.
Furthermore, Dienda raised concerns about the manner in which the government handled the flood issue, pointing out that the repetition of doing the same things every time floods occur in the Northern regions is the reason why flood victims never fully recover from the trauma they suffer.
“All this after people lost their homes, social well-being, food security and emotional scars that the flood imprints on their lives,” she said.
Dienda called on the government to start preparing for the next flood by placing families on permanent higher grounds to avoid spending millions of dollars year after year.
She also highlighted the flooding of malls and homes last year in Windhoek due to rainfall and weather patterns which are constantly changing as another practical example of planning for the worst.
“This was just the tip of the iceberg and we must use it as an opportunity to open a door to the rectification of an error and of finding the resilience to an ever-changing climate,” Dienda explained.
Based on this shortfall, the Member of Parliament has suggested that Namibia needs to start emulating other countries that are faced with similar and in some cases, even worse natural disasters to build more resilient structures and also to become a country that finds opportunities when faced with challenges.
“Be assured a country which fails in small things, will fail in big things, and these disasters have devastating and far-reaching consequences in the livelihoods and food security of the people,” Dienda said.
Meanwhile, Isaak Vries, another Parliamentarian, who is also in support of the motion, said that government needs to come up with a separate budget that deals with flood mitigation, adding that the Disaster Risk Management Unit is not serving its purpose fully.