National Council officials going down under

Martin Endjala

Chairperson of the National Council, Lukas Sinimbo Muha, Director Petrus Kavhura as well as Secretary Tousy Namiseb are among 120 delegates currently attending the 26th Parliamentary speakers and presiding officers of the Commonwealth ( CSPOC) conference in Australia.

The conference will focus on parliamentary engagement, innovation and security and is attended by 32 Commonwealth countries.

“The Covid pandemic caught us by surprise and was devastating but valuable lessons have been learned,” Namiseb said in an interview with the Windhoek Observer Newspaper.

He continued saying that , despite this, they were able to adjust and continue with Parliamentary work through virtual platforms and other means while emphasizing that Parliaments were forced to be innovative and invest in IT infrastructures.

Namibia, for example he said, has developed the e-Parliament Strategy 2022 – 2027 launched during December 2022.

He further noted that some Parliaments could not proceed through virtual means because of the legal frameworks, which are often contained in Constitutions and require physical presence of Members in Parliament.

Furthermore, Namibia has adjusted Standing Rules and Orders to deal with offside participation although amended rules have so far not been adopted.

Namiseb stressed that the National Council will adopt rules during the February 2023 sessions.

Parliamentary innovation is said to focus on the leadership abilities of Speakers and Presiding Officers to enhance the role and function of Parliament, to enhance participatory democracy and assert Parliaments from intrusive behavior by the Executive and the judiciary.

Namiseb further called on courts to refrain from dealing with matters which are still in the hands parliament.

Meanwhile, political analyst Henning Melber expressed that he is keen on finding out the gains were from the conference and how they would effectively be applied upon return in Namibia’s parliament.

“It will be good if a comprehensive report is drafted and shared on the outcomes. After all, good governance in a year of revival ought to include transparency and accountability, as well as fiscal prudence,” he said.

More than 120 delegates of 32 Commonwealth countries will attend the workshops and plenaries on topics relating to their roles as Presiding Officers.

The Conference is hosted by the Australia Senate President, Senator Sue Lines, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Milton Dick (MP).

By Observer