KK appeals to parliament’s conscience

20 February 2015
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Swapo backbencher Kazenambo Kazenambo has urged fellow parliamentarians not to behave like mercenaries who are only interested in addressing issues that affect their own stomachs.

Kazenambo made the remarks on Wednesday when he delivered his motivation for a motion that calls on Government to address the issue surrounding the citizenship status of Namibian returnees from Botswana.

“Use your conscience because these are the offspring of the freedom fighters who assisted many of you sitting here today; this is hypocrisy of the highest order,” he charged.

He acknowledged efforts by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, and the Botswana High Commission in Windhoek in addressing the plight of the returnees, but the Swapo MP stressed that many issues still needed to be ironed out.

“There are many unresolved matters that make many of the returnees from Botswana suffer in silence in their own country of origin.

“Many of them don’t have national documents and therefore cannot go to school or find decent jobs,” he said.

He highlighted that the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu, Namas and Damaras fled from Namibia between 1904 and 1908 as political refugees.

Furthermore, chiefs Samuel Maharero, Hendrik Witbooi and Jacob Morenga and others were declared heroes for leading the war of resistance.

However, Kazenambo said the Government of the day is treating the descendants of these national heroes like second-class citizens, whom they gave little opportunity to prosper in the land of their forefathers.

“From 1904 until 1989 the Ovaherero people did not take a single break in fighting for the liberation of this country, and did not rest for a single day. We were there, and we did not face our enemies at night but in broad daylight.

“It is a real shame that we appear to discriminate against the relatives of the likes of Daniel Munamava, Hanganee Katjipuka and Kaleb Thjipahura. A society of integrity is built on facing diverse issues,” he said.

He urged all members of the august house to have a conscience in their daily political conduct, and acknowledge and register returnees from Botswana as citizens by descent, which he felt they deserve.

“A lot of you will say there he goes again, Kazenambo is always emotional. Yes, I am emotional because I deal with emotive issues,” he explained.

Nudo MP Arnold Tjihuiko supported the motion and reminded the house that this was not the first time that the issue was being brought before parliament. He said it was high time that the matter was addressed permanently.

“It is really a shame that it has taken us 14 years to deal with the citizenship issue of our people. I wonder whether Cabinet just had no interest in the cause, or it lacked the political will.

 “Last year honourable Kawana informed this house that the Namibian Constitution does not cover these descendants and offspring of our people.

“Why then have we just not amended the Constitution in order to accommodate our own people?

“Last year we passed a series of amendments in a matter of weeks, so we should be able to do this in a few days,” Tjihuiko remarked.

Tjihuiko urged members of the house to amend the constitution before March 21.

The Namibian Constitution currently does not make provision for the descendants of Namibian exiles from the third generation or beyond, to receive citizenship by descent. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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