By Kuvee Kangueehi
Mystery surrounds a planned hearing into a parliamentary exchange involving Minister of Information and Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Deputy Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Kazenambo Kazenambo, recently.
The pair clashed in parliament a fortnight ago during a debate on a motion on morality and respect which was tabled by Swapo Party MP, Peya Mushelenga, last month.
Following an open exchange between the pair, attempts were made to conduct a hearing on the matter by three senior Swapo Party figures. The effort however failed owing to a lack of a clear mandate according to sources.
Swapo Party Chief Whip, Ben Amathila, Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Swapo Party Secretary-General, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, last Tuesday and Wednesday called in Nandi-Ndaitwah and Kazenambo to deal with the issue.
The heated argument in the National Assembly erupted when the two were contributing to the debate on morality and respect for elders.
During the contribution, Kazenambo took a swipe at some senior ministers and charged that they were hypocrites and tribalists. He claimed that some senior party members had been calling other senior party members derogatory names because of their ethnicity while accusing them of being CIA members.
On her part, Ndaitwah responded to Kazenambo’s comments by saying it was disrespectful of him to make such comments against senior party members.
It is believed that after the apparent fall-out, Amathila approached the Head of State President Hifikepunye Pohamba to complain about the matter.
However, sources at parliament say Pohamba failed to act saying the matter did not belong to his office. Amathila is said to have approached the Speaker on the same issue and still got no concrete response as to what course of action to take if any.
It is believed Amathila thereafter decided to convene a hearing whose mandate is unclear. Consequently, the hearing collapsed owing to lack of clarity on its purpose and mandate.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Angula said the matter was initiated by the Secretary General of the party Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, as Kazenambo and Ndaitwah are both on the party ticket in Parliament. He said the importance of the meeting was to understand the position of the two MPs and to find a solution if any. Angula said it appears that the problem is between Kazenambo and his party.
However, Tjiriange said he was called in by the Chief Whip to reconcile the two MPs. He added that as far as he is concerned, there is nothing wrong that Kazenambo did during his contribution that should have warranted a meeting or discussion.
He added that he did not hear Ndaitwah’s contribution in Parliament as he was not present and thus could not comment on it.
He added that he only attended the discussion to listen to both parties and there was no intention to take any steps against any of the two. Contacted for comment, Ndaitwah said “there is absolutely no issue”.
A senior Swapo Party MP who preferred to remain anonymous said the proper procedure should have been that the matter be referred to the Swapo Parliamentary Caucus. The MP added that if the Parliamentary Caucus felt there was need to set up a committee to look into the matter, it would have done so. Otherwise, the parliamentary caucus could have forwarded the matter to the Swapo Party.
Attempts to contact Kazenambo and Amathila proved futile at the time of going to press.