Guest Contributor | Jul 25, 2017 | 0
AR holds protest despite police ban
The Affirmative Re-positioning movement under the flagship of Job Amupanda held their 16th June protest and handed in their petition, which is against the construction of the new parliament that is estimated to cost N$2.2 billion.
The petition was read and handed to of the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Peter Katjavivi.
Upon arrival, the speaker of parliament stressed that he was pressed for time and just wished to have a copy of the petition. The last-minute attempt by the Namibian Police to block the demonstration over the building of a new parliament failed last week, and an agreement was reached not march to Parliament but rather to Snyman Circle.
Crowds chanted ‘Down with new parliament’, while speaker after speaker expressed concern over the water crisis and the state of local hospitals.
In a press statement released earlier this week, the president of Namibia’s National Students Association’s (NANSO), Wilhelem Wilhelem said, “It can never be morally justifiable to a build a N$2.2 billion parliament when students and the youth are trapped in poverty and marginalization.”
The young advocate further said that the challenges students are experiencing are happening at their watch and encouraged them to have the courage to face that fact and act.
Wilhelem said that thousands of students are forced to drop out of school because they cannot afford university fees as they are not beneficiaries to the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund, (NSFAF).
Despite mass protest by the public to stop the construction of the new parliament Members of Parliament remain impartial or are in favour to the matter as earlier in March this year, Speaker Katjavivi was quoted in the media defending the construction of the new parliament, saying the N$2 billion building will accommodate both the National Assembly and National Council.
Recent protests came from the Minster of Information and Technology, Hon. Tjekero Tweya who blamed the media for mis-informing the public,“My disappointment is with you so-called Namibian journalists who are not patriotic,” he said, before criticizing the media for “jumping the gun” with the cost estimate of the new parliament building”.
Tweya further condemned the media for not informing the public that the construction would be done in phases and was budgeted for several financial years, and therefore was not a one-off cost.
According to Tweya, it is currently in the design phase and government will then budget for the actual construction accordingly.