By Eliaser Ndeyanale
URBAN and Rural Development Minister, Sophia Shaningwa, has castigated the media for publishing stories about her not attending parliamentary sessions regularly.
Shaningwa raised the issue after answering questions from DTA lawmaker Nico Smit in the National Assembly recently.
The minister said that if a member of the National Assembly has not come to the House, it does not mean that they are absconding, but could be attending to other equally important responsibilities.
Two months ago, a weekly newspaper painted a picture of lawmakers dodging the businesses of the House, by publishing an article in which Shaningwa was also cited.
There have also been similar reports recently.
“There is a tendency by members of the media of reporting that the Minister of Urban and Rural development is always absent from parliament. If you are quiet, you are shown as absent. This kind of behaviour should stop… They must stop giving wrong information, when they are up there (in the gallery), they look who is in the House and who is not,” she said.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, seconded the minister’s sentiments, while also saying that when an MP is not present, they are attending to other responsibilities.
“They communicate to the House, as to why they are not coming,” he said.
Since last year, National Assembly business has been crippled by poor attendance, by both backbenchers and ministers.
This resulted in Katjavivi cautioning parliamentarians against constantly abandoning their duties of representing government in parliament.
“This attitude of ministers not coming to the House to answer questions is sending a wrong message. The chief whip must inform this House, in the event where a minister will not come to the House to answer questions,” Katjavivi said last year.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015