NA rejects name changes

NA rejects name changes

DTA leader Katuutire Kaura made one last attempt yesterday to get the National Assembly to agree to “restoring” the pre-colonial indigenous names of towns in Namibia, before the motion was thrown out.

The motion Kaura introduced nearly two months ago that the towns’ names be changed to Otjiherero names – which according to him are the original ones – raised tensions both inside the House and out. In his final remarks, Kaura claimed Namibia was in contravention of a UN law on the standardisation of geographical names.He alleged that officials from the Basic Education Ministry had failed to act on a training course they had been sent to in South Africa in 1998, on the restoration of place names.Further, the motion would not have been necessary had Government acted years ago to “restore” place names.In a bid to rally support for the changes, Kaura said the name “Namibia” was “embraced by all of us because it originated from us” when Hage Geingob first introduced it to the UN in 1968.Kaura once again proposed that Windhoek be renamed Otjomuise, Gobabis to Epako and Grootfontein to Otjivanda.”If the fear is that the tourists will not be able to pronounce Otjomuise, they can pronounce Ouagadougou,” he said.He called on MPs to act with a “patriotic cons-cience” in supporting the motion.Fellow DTA member Philemon Moongo argued that the motion would not have been objected to if Swapo had proposed it.”Swapo wants to lay claim to everything that happens in Namibia,” he said.To retorts from across the room, Moongo said he hoped Swapo did not introduce a similar motion in two or three years’ time, because it would be remembered that the DTA had done so first.Lands Minister Jerry Ekandjo called for the House to be declared divided on the issue, saying the MPs’ primary job was to make laws.He said he did not approve of remarks during debate which referred to Nama-speaking Namibians as “invaders” of the country.Only the three DTA members present voted in favour of the motion.After the vote, Prime Minister Nahas Angula got the final word, saying Government was not opposed to the principle of changing names.”Names do change,” he said.He urged Kaura to rather obtain consensus from those who would be affected by the name changes before bringing such a motion to the House.”Don’t come to the House and try to force us to accept it,” he said.In a statement late yesterday, the CoD said it was in favour of the correct spelling of indigenous names where they were in use, but took issue with the fact that the motion only covered selected towns and places without any motivation or justification.It said it also supported the changing of some names should it be found necessary to do so.The National Assembly has gone into recess until September 20.In his final remarks, Kaura claimed Namibia was in contravention of a UN law on the standardisation of geographical names.He alleged that officials from the Basic Education Ministry had failed to act on a training course they had been sent to in South Africa in 1998, on the restoration of place names.Further, the motion would not have been necessary had Government acted years ago to “restore” place names.In a bid to rally support for the changes, Kaura said the name “Namibia” was “embraced by all of us because it originated from us” when Hage Geingob first introduced it to the UN in 1968.Kaura once again proposed that Windhoek be renamed Otjomuise, Gobabis to Epako and Grootfontein to Otjivanda.”If the fear is that the tourists will not be able to pronounce Otjomuise, they can pronounce Ouagadougou,” he said.He called on MPs to act with a “patriotic cons-cience” in supporting the motion.Fellow DTA member Philemon Moongo argued that the motion would not have been objected to if Swapo had proposed it.”Swapo wants to lay claim to everything that happens in Namibia,” he said.To retorts from across the room, Moongo said he hoped Swapo did not introduce a similar motion in two or three years’ time, because it would be remembered that the DTA had done so first.Lands Minister Jerry Ekandjo called for the House to be declared divided on the issue, saying the MPs’ primary job was to make laws.He said he did not approve of remarks during debate which referred to Nama-speaking Namibians as “invaders” of the country.Only the three DTA members present voted in favour of the motion.After the vote, Prime Minister Nahas Angula got the final word, saying Government was not opposed to the principle of changing names.”Names do change,” he said.He urged Kaura to rather obtain consensus from those who would be affected by the name changes before bringing such a motion to the House.”Don’t come to the House and try to force us to accept it,” he said.In a statement late yesterday, the CoD said it was in favour of the correct spelling of indigenous names where they were in use, but took issue with the fact that the motion only covered selected towns and places without any motivation or justification.It said it also supported the changing of some names should it be found necessary to do so.The National Assembly has gone into recess until September 20.

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