Opposition parties must engage in serious conversation

Stefanus Nashama

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Leader, McHenry Venaani, stated that it is time for opposition parties to have a serious conversation on how to take over power from the governing Swapo Party rather than attacking each other on petty things.

“My mission as an official opposition leader is to bring opposition parties to a table to discuss the future of Namibia,” he said.

Venaani said any party can remove Swapo from power, adding that the formation of a coalition is the best and fastest approach to taking power from the governing party.

He said opposition political organizations should raise the level of politics in Namibia, and discuss issues affecting the country.

Venaani stated that opposition parties should be discussing health and education issues, unemployment among the youth population, mismanagement, unhygienic issues and many other issues affecting the Namibian Nation.

He made the above remarks at the PDM media conference that took place yesterday in Windhoek.

Responding to Chief Patriot Dr Panduleni Itula

Following a letter written by the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) questioning why Venaani has run for the presidency but is now sitting in the National Assembly, Venaani yesterday argued that Itula has misinterpreted the Constitution and the principle of separation of powers, and confusing parliamentary systems.

Venaani said there is no provision stating that a leader of a political party is prohibited from contesting elections in the National Assembly.

“Dr Itula is saying the constitution implies that when you are running for president of the country, you cannot run for National Assembly, and this is what he has it all wrong,” Venaani stated “The constitution does not imply, it means what it means.”

He said Itula is mixing the Commonwealth Parliamentary system with the American Parliamentary system because of a lack of understanding in the legislature.

In a Commonwealth Parliamentary System, citing South Africa as an example, Venaani said for Cyril Ramaphosa to run for president in South Africa, he must be elected as a Member of Parliament.

For President Geingob to nominate a Vice President, a person must be a Member of Parliament, as declared by Article 28 of the Namibian Constitution, Venaani said.

He further said for President Geingob to appoint a minister, that person must be elected as a Member of Parliament, apart from the eight people the President can appoint.

Venaani explained that in American Parliamentary System, the Vice President is elected directly on a ticket. This is what Itula is interpreting, he added.

Venaani said he knows that he presents a threat to the IPC leader’s hopes of becoming Namibia’s president but he should not attack him.

Venaani worried there were many other people from other political parties contesting for president, and they sit in National Assembly but Itula wrote to ECN only about him.

“I look like a President, and I could be the next president, but at this time, Dr Itula, I am just the leader of the official opposition. I am not the president of Namibia,” he stated.

“If I am elected as President of Namibia, I cannot go to the legislature because I am a President.

If I am not elected as President, they can go to the legislature because I am not in the executive,” he reiterated.

The only problem in Namibia is that the executive dominates that legislature, Venaani noted.

He also said Itula was wrong to say Ministers in Namibia are Ex-Officials of the legislature, stressing that for a person to be appointed as Minister, he or she must be a Member of Parliament. He said Itula is trying to quote the Namibian Constitution in American Context, adding that the Constitution does not imply, but it means what it means.

“Dr Itula must call for Constitutional amendment if he wants to cross to the American constitution, like what happened in Kenya,” he encouraged.

Venaani said the Alliance between PDM and United People’s Movement (UPM) agreed for the parties to contest as PDM.

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