POPULAR Democratic Movement President McHenry Venaani justified his absence from the briefing of political parties on the green hydrogen project and recent oil discovery in Namibia by President Hage Geingob, saying that State House blundered when it extended an invite to PDM, containing the details of another leader of an opposition party.
According to Venaani, the invite was received by PDM on Monday around 11h00. Around 18h00, a State House representative reached out to him enquiring whether or not he would attend the meeting, which was held yesterday.
“It was too short of a notice, we are the official opposition, they should have given us the same courtesy. You are inviting other people. We can’t just run because the State House is calling. We must get due notice. I had this discussion with the minister in the Presidency which I expressed to her my dismay. She apologized but it was late. It’s plain disregard of who I am,” Venaani told the Windhoek Observer newspaper.
Venaani stated that he merely refused to attend the meeting on account of the lack of due notice, the absence of courtesy and the flagrant disrespect of his office.
“State House has displayed sheer disregard for the significance of the Official Opposition and Shadow government as voted for by the sovereigns of this Republic. The Official Opposition is a significant component in the structure of the National Assembly and is essential for the proper functioning of a democratic government and the parliamentary process. In fact, within a representative democracy such as ours, the State House ought to have initially reached out to the Leader of the Official Opposition,” he stressed.
According to Venaani, State House has over the years refused to engage with the PDM.
“Now that it has begun engaging with other political parties, it attempts to lump the PDM together with other political parties. The PDM wishes to clarify that the decision to decline the invitation is not because it has no interest to engage the Presidency, but rather owed to the negligence of courtesy and the necessary respect. The PDM accords the President, His Excellency, Dr. Hage Geingob the respect as the sovereigns of this Republic have elected him into power, as such, the PDM expects the same respect as the sovereigns of this Republic have equally elected the PDM into the designation of Official Opposition, ” Venaani said.
He has since called on the State house to engage PDM as the Official Opposition chiefly, when they choose to engage with political parties.
“When the State House engages the PDM, it ought to do so in a respectful, courteous and dignified manner. While the PDM regrets this unfortunate error by the State House, this is indicative of the fact that the State House does not conduct its affairs in a reverential manner. The Honourable Venaani, as a leader who champions character and in particular, dignity, cascades this down to the rest of the organisation,” said Venaani.
Meanwhile, the Landless People’s Movement, which was also missing in action at the meeting said that they received an email from the Secretary of the Minister in the Presidency, Christine Hoebes, informing them of the cancellation of the meeting.
LPM Spokesperson Eneas Emvula said the cancellation email was received nearly two hours after the party received the invite. He did not say whether Hoebes deliberately called off the LPM.