Opposition MP questions Mushelenga over EU envoys summon

Stefanus Nashama

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of Parliament, Maximalliant Katjimune, is questioning minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Peya Mushelenga for summoning European Union (EU) envoys for meeting a local politician.

This is according to a notice of questions submitted by the parliamentarian in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

To Katjimune, the summoning of EU envoys and the local German Embassy over a courtesy meeting with leaders of registered political formation is worrisome.

 “It was therefore quite concerning when the ministry summoned envoys from the delegation of the European Commission to Namibia, as well the local German Embassy over a courtesy meeting that recently took place between them and the leaders of one of the political parties duly registered in Namibia pursuant to our electoral laws.

Indeed, this was an exceptionally bizarre intervention from the ministry because nowhere in our laws, nor in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) the Convention which the ministry quoted in its statement are such informal interactions prohibited, save where the provisions of Article 41 (1) of the Convention prohibits the interference by foreign missions into the receiving State’s internal affairs, which was not the case in this instance,” he expressed.

The parliamentarian believes Namibia remains a child of international solidarity, proven by the relationship and spirit of free and courteous engagement between the government and local civil society with the international community.

According to Katjimune, it was not the first occurrence, both in Namibia or globally, that the heads of foreign missions receiving state meet informally with political party actors or civil society.

“Is it only Swapo politicians that are allowed to meet with members of foreign missions? And if that is the case, in what law is such a provision postulated?” he questioned.

Katjimune viewed the summon actions as an attempt to intimidate members of foreign missions in the country and opposition political parties to have no any sort of interaction, especially in the context of the much-anticipated November 2024 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

“If no, why did the ministry only react to this particular meeting, despite the leaders of that party, as well as leaders of other political parties, having met other foreign dignitaries in the past,” he said.

Katjimune said Mushelenga should assure the public that such intimidatory tactics will not happen again, especially during this year of elections.

He urged the government to commit itself to the entrenched democratic values.

Last week, Mushelenga summoned the EU delegation and the German Embassy, following a recent meeting between the envoys and the leader of the Independent Patriots for Change Panduleni Itula, drawing attention to the delicate balance between diplomatic engagement and respecting the sovereignty of nations.

The minister raised concerns over discussions that touch upon matters exclusively within the purview of the Namibian government, particularly when involving individuals not representing the government.

“While the Government has no objection with whom diplomatic missions accredited to Namibia engage, discussions on issues that are the sole preserve and prerogative of the sending and host governments, with a conversant not representing the Government of the Republic of Namibia, are deemed inconsistent with diplomatic practices and akin to interference in the domestic affairs of the country,” he affirmed.

Mushelelnga emphasised the obligation of diplomatic missions to uphold these principles in their interactions within Namibia.

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