THREE Members of Parliament (MPs) reportedly snubbed an international women’s meeting because the venue was apparently cold and rather opted to carry out other activities blowing taxpayers’ money in New York.
The three legislators namely Swapo backbencher Petrina Haingura, Disability Affairs Deputy Minister Alexia Manombe-Ncube and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) MP Agnes Limbo, were in New York to attend the International Parliamentary Women’s Bureau meeting from March 13-24 but reportedly ended up not attending.
Sources claim that they ended up doing other activities including shopping.
They were part of a seven-member delegation which included Gender Equality Minister Doreen Sioka and chairperson of the National Council Margaret Mensah-Williams, who is also the current Inter Parliamentary Women’s Bureau president.
The rest of the party consisted of National Council chief whip Tangeni Tobias and Swapo MP in the National Council Mannelia Ndjago.
Confidente understands that the official opening of the conference was on March 13, where Sioka, Mensah-Williams and the other two MPs were in attendance as scheduled. Strangely Haingura, Manombe-Ncube and Limbo trio only arrived six days later on March 19, and left on March 25. However, the Minister and the others had left a day earlier on March 24 according to the set travel plans.
Approached for comment to clarify as to what caused their delay and why they had skipped the meeting, Haingura who first broke into laughter, denied that she was on shopping spree while on official duty.
“I went there to attend a women caucus. Don’t tarnish my name; tarnish the name of the one who sent you. That is nonsense, rubbish I did not buy anything there,” she said.
Haingura confirmed that she did not attend the first five days because “there were delays”. Asked what the delays were she retorted: “That is not your business.”
Limbo commented on the matter saying they could not attend the Inter-Parliamentary Women’s Bureau meeting ‘as they were not part of it’.
“We don’t belong to the IPU so we couldn’t attend that meeting; we belong to SADC Parliamentary Forum. We never went for shopping as is being said. Namibians are fond of discrediting others,” she said.
Manombe-Ncube could not be reached for comment as her phone was off and a text message sent to her phone was not responded to.
According to sources privy to the matter, Government spent a total of N$650 000 on the three politicians including Manombe-Ncube’s aide and support staff. This translates into N$70 000 in travel and subsistence (S&T) allowances for each MP while their business class air fare reportedly cost close to N$90 000 per politician.
Manombe-Ncube’s team of two cost taxpayers N$40 000 each in S&T and a collective N$100 000 for their flight tickets to the United States.
This is perceived as a slap in the face of President Hage Geingob’s attempt and efforts to cut public expenditures and redeploy resources to priority areas amid an array of austerity measures.
Mensah-Williams said, “For delegation members who came late and about not attending meetings I would rather refer you to the Minister or to the institution the said member of the delegation came from as they will be in a better position to explain.”
Questions sent to the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi were not answered to despite a promise to provide a response.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015