Katjavivi in tribal storm

Peter Katjavivi
…lawmakers divided over tribal accusations against speaker

Swapo lawmaker and deputy minister of works and transport Veikko Nekundi on Tuesday accused National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi of tribalism while some lawmakers disagreed with his sentiments.

The assertion was backed by some Swapo lawmakers who say Katjavivi favours opposition parties during sittings.

Nekundi made this accusation against Katjavivi, claiming he has been harassed by the speaker.

This was as members of the National Assembly discussed the divorce bill tabled by justice minister Yvonne Dausab. Katjavivi told Nekundi to sit, saying he was repetitive while other members had different contributions to debate on the bill.

Veikko Nekundi

“It is tribalism and favouritism. Yes, it is tribalism. Because a [Omu]Herero is speaking, now the [Aa]Wambos must not,” Nekundi said.

His fellow deputy minister, Bernadette Jagger, has defended Nekundi, alleging that Swapo members of parliament (MPs) feel disadvantaged by the speaker.

“From today, I kindly ask you, treat each and every member of this house equally. Treat us equally. Nekundi has suffered for a long time. Yes. He has suffered. Swapo members generally suffer a lot because of respect. Because of respect we have maintained that. Let us be all treated equally,” she says.

However, Landless People’s Movement (PDM) chief whip Utaara Mootu called for the deputy minister to be removed.

“Nekundi has made tribalist comments in this house. Not after I fought for this country. He must be escorted out. He is making comments about Hereros. He must withdraw [it],” she says.

Nekundi refused and repeated “it is a fact”.

When opposition party parliamentarians called on the speaker to intervene, Katjavivi said “I did not hear that”.

Utaara Mootu
Kalimbo Iipumbu


Swapo secretary general Sophia Shangingwa requested for a break to cool down the high temperature in the chamber.

“The chamber is really warm. There are some problems. Can we please have a break? It is ugly out there comrade speaker. Both the speaker and comrade Nekundi, you are from the same house, if I have to be blunt. But we cannot go on this way,” she said.

Katjavivi did not heed Shaningwa’s call, saying he would like to deal with the order of the day as last week, MPs did not attend the sitting.


PDM parliamentarian Maximalliant Katjimune and Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) deputy president Kalimbo Iipumbu yesterday disagreed with Nekundi’s claims of favouritism.

Katjimune said the sentiments are not a true reflection of the speaker’s conduct in the chamber.

He said Swapo MPs cannot accuse the speaker of bias when they lose debates on the floor of parliament.

“It was very unfortunate that Veikko Nekundi went further to accuse the speaker of tribalism simply because he allowed myself and Utaara Mootu to interject him on a point of order while he was speaking.

“That is within our rights to raise a point of order and the Speaker gave us the floor accordingly. Nekundi also interrupts members all the time and no one has accused the speaker of favouring him,” Katjimune said.

Meanwhile, Iipumbu said the house needs a youthful speaker who does not choose sides.

Iipumbu said it is time for Swapo to introduce a vote of no confidence in Katjavivi as “his age can’t cope anymore”.

Rui Tyitende

Political analyst Rui Tyitende says it is surprising that members of the governing party are complaining about being treated unfairly.

“If that is so, why is it only being raised now?” he asks.

Tyitende says the speaker was quite partial in the way he conducted the business of parliament.

Former ambassador Pius Dunaiski believes that being the point man of Geingob to control the legislature, Katjavivi has not been able to steer the crucial people’s representatives body well as part of the government’s three branches.

“I agree that he is too old and unable to control parliament properly. I am sure he can’t wait to retire and attend to his posh farm and grandfather responsibilities,” he says.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News