NUDO slams justice minister for submitting bills on short notice

Martin Endjala

The National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO) Member of Parliament and Chief Whip, Josef Kauandenge has slammed Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab for reportedly bringing bills on short notice and expecting parliamentarians to “just rubber and stamp them in the name of urgency”.

The MP argued that Parliament is an institution of state that must be respected by the Executive Branch which is the Cabinet.

“In this regard, the Executive Branch should be reminded forthwith that the Namibian Constitution incorporates tripartite separation of governmental power as the basis of our political system,” he said.

He was reacting to a bill tabled by Dausab, which seeks to amend certain provisions within the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 to, amongst others, provide for police officers to obtain information and to provide for the furnishing of evidence to a judge of the High Court or a magistrate without the need for appearance.

The bill also seeks to provide the police with the ability to use evidence from traps or undercover operations and allow them to be admissible in court.

Furthermore, it seeks to provide broad powers to the police, the Anti-Corruption Commission and Judges in specific circumstances amongst many other proposed amendments.

To this end, Kauandenge said that Article 1 sub-article 3 of the Namibian Constitution provides that the main organs of the state shall be the executive, legislative and judiciary branches.

He stressed that it is regrettable, and highly disrespectful for the Executive to bring to the house almost ten critical bills in the name of urgency and expect the legislature to just rubber stamp them on the eleventh hour.

He added the sudden urgency stems from threats that the country might be blacklisted by international bodies if these bills are not signed into law by 30 June 2023.

“This gives parliament only six days to debate them and pass them before parliament goes into recess on 13 July 2023,” the fuming Kauandenge said.

He stated that Cabinet knew about the bills since last year and that the drafts are very important.

“They knew the deadline was set at 30 June 2023, but because they have such low regard for Parliament, they delayed the tabling,” he added.

Kauandenge was of the opinion that members took their time to bring these bills while knowing very well that the Parliament is a toothless bulldog.

He said that members are under the impression that they can just use anytime any day to rubber stamp these bills because their backbenchers can just be remotely controlled by being told to toe the line to pass bills, whether or not they read them and understood it.

“This house cannot be used by the executive as a mere rubber stamp organ of the state. This bill in front of us needs serious interrogation as it contains very critical proposed amendments, but yet time is not sufficient,” Kauandenge said.

Kauandenge said that it is highly uncalled for, discourteous, rude, inconsiderate, ungracious, arrogant at best, sacrilegious, flippant and profane, and that “this practice must be done away with”.

“Some of us can read and comprehend for ourselves and these are critical bills that need thorough interrogation and research, for one to be able to make meaningful contributions, not mere approval. I am fully aware that the Swapo-led government don’t listen to inputs from the opposition, but I want to have my say anyway,” he said.

He said that he is in support of the tabled bill, given the fact that most of Namibia’s customary laws are not codified and therefore must be distilled from the evolving body of jurisprudence which is a branch of philosophy concerned with the law.

In addition, he maintained that it is important to put much emphasis on the Criminal Procedure Act, as this is a body of laws that regulates the inquiry into whether a person has violated criminal law, from the investigation of crimes to the arrest, charging and trial of accused persons.

Dausab could not be reached at the time of publishing.

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