Swartbooi, Seibeb win case against speaker and National Assembly

Peter Katjavivi

Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi and former party colleague Henny Seibeb have won a High Court case about disciplinary steps taken against them after president Hage Geingob’s state of the nation address in April 2021.

In a judgement delivered in the Windhoek High Court on Friday, decisions of the National Assembly’s rules committee and privileges committee in April 2021 were set aside by three judges of the court.

The court also set aside a decision of the National Assembly to adopt a report of the privileges committee on the behaviour of Swartbooi and Seibeb during Geingob’s address during a joint session of parliament.

The court further declared the term “grossly improper” in the parliamentary rule giving the speaker the power to withdraw a member from the National Assembly for bad behaviour as vague and unconstitutional.

National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi withdrew Swartbooi and Seibeb from the assembly after they disrupted Geingob’s state of the nation address on 15 April.

Swartbooi and Seibeb were subsequently suspended indefinitely from the National Assembly.

After they fought a legal battle against their suspension, the Supreme Court in August 2021 declared that the suspension was unlawful and a nullity.

The High Court’s judgement on Friday was delivered by judge Thomas Masuku, who heard oral arguments in the matter with judges Boas Usiku and Eileen Rakow near the end of August last year.

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