By Confidente Reporter
PRIME MINISTER Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has allegedly taken over the role of the two Swapo chief whips at Parliament in a move that is said to have incensed her colleagues who feel she is failing to distinguish between her role as head of Government business in Parliament and Swapo parliamentary affairs, Confidente has learnt.
According to the Constitution, the Prime Minister is the head of Government business in Parliament.
Article 36 of the Namibian Constitution states that: “ The Prime Minister shall be the leader of Government business in Parliament, shall coordinate the work of the Cabinet as head of administration, and shall (advise and assist) perform other functions as may be assigned by the President or the Vice President (in the execution of the functions of Government).”
According to Members of Parliament who spoke to Confidente on condition of anonymity, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has literally taken over the role of Swapo party whips in the two houses –National Assembly and National Council.
According to Parliament each political party or organisation represented in Parliament is required to have a chief whip who deals with matters affecting that party in Parliament.
“Chief whips have been reduced to nothing as the Prime Minister has literally taken over their duties. She is the one who is giving instructions to Members of Parliament, writing letters asking to meet with Swapo legislators leaving chief whips with nothing to do. Her duty is to be in charge of Government business in Parliament not run party business. She should respect the separation of powers,” some of the legislators told Confidente.
The sources added that in September, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila wrote to the Minister of Justice, Dr Albert Kawana on September 30 requesting a briefing on the Whistle-blowers and Witness Protection bills when it was supposed to be done by the National Assembly chief whip.
“I write to notify your office that my office had requested for a joint Swapo Party caucus on Tuesday October 4 2016 on the two bills mentioned above. The National Council has indicated that its Members are on recess and can only be engaged on October 12 2016.
“In this regard, I kindly request your office to facilitate for a presentation on the two bills to the Swapo Members of the National Assembly on October 4 2016 immediately after session and subsequently to the Swapo Members of the National Council on October 12 2016 after the session and thereafter for a short workshop for all Parliamentarians on October 17 2016 during session.”
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Tuesday said she was fully aware of her responsibilities, and denied ever taking over the chief whips’ jobs.
“I am fully aware of what my responsibilities as Prime Minister are. I have no desire or time to take over someone else’s job. Those accusations are thus without any basis and actually make no sense.”
Efforts to get comment from the Swapo chief whip in the National Assembly, Eveline Evelyn Nawases-Taeyele proved futile at the time of going to print while the party’s chief whip in the National Council Tangeni Tobias had this to say: “I chair my caucuses which the Prime Minister also attends if the need arises.”
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