Sparks Fly in National Assembly over Nation’s Morality

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The motion on the state of the nation’s morality regarding respect for elders and the social obligation towards them by younger members of their families, continues to spark strong debate and to stir emotions in the National Assembly. On Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Kazenambo Kazenambo, almost lost his cool after the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, criticized him for taking a swipe at senior members of the party last week when he contributed to the same motion. Towards the end of her well-crafted speech, which also took a mild swipe at party leaders, Ndaitwah stated that it was morally wrong for Kazenambo to criticize his seniors in the National Assembly. She perfectly ambushed Kazenambo and quickly finished reading her statement after criticizing him, thus not giving him an opportunity to respond. A clearly angry Kazenambo called Ndaitwah a hypocrite and, fuming, left the chambers for a brief moment before returning. Ndaitwah said the fact that parliamentarians are debating morality in the Chamber is a clear sign that there is a total moral breakdown. “It is an admission that disrespect for the elderly, our fellow men and women, friends, colleagues and leaders, has reached an all-time low.” She added that each and every one has contributed to the breakdown of morality in society, and the situation is too serious for anyone to start mud-slinging or playing a blame-game. She said the situation leaves the house with no option but to cooperate in pinpointing the reasons and to find an amicable solution to the problem. “We are all in this rocking boat, and if we want to survive we will have to mobilize and work together to find a solution.” She warned that everybody needs to act quickly because the situation is eroding the very fabric of the communities and the greater society. She urged fellow parliamentarians to identify the root causes for the moral decay in order to find a lasting solution. If traditional, political or community leaders are not leading by example, they can contribute to moral decay in society, Nandi-Ndaitwah added. She further noted that the media could also be guilty if they are not responsible and accountable in their reporting. Acknowledging the role civil society plays, she said these institutions provide the ‘glue’ to hold society together in terms of common values and provide for transmission of those values to successive generations. Contributing to the same debate, Swapo backbencher, Jeremiah Nambinga, said hatred, blackmailing, character-assassination both within and from other political counterparts, serves no purpose and will bring about nothing but shame. He called on all Namibians to respect one and another as sons and daughters of the country. “Political emotions and intolerance, as we have learned, will not achieve anything as we have to focus on vision 2030.” He noted that respect is a two-way street politically and otherwise and only through mature politics of tolerance and patience will Namibia continue to be stable, which is a pre-requisite for economic development. Nambinga said despite the fact that it is expected that the younger generation must be humble and show respect to the elder generation, every human being has a capacity of patience that can run out if constantly tried. “Even members of the same age group try each other’s patience when they differ and clearly tell each other off as a result of this.” Elma Dienda of the Congress of Democrats was expected to contribute to the debate yesterday.