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Namibia and Japan keen to strengthen bilateral cooperation, 20 August 2018

Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (middle) with Japanese lawmakers Hons. Ichiro Aisawa (left) and Hitoshi Kikawada (right)

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi wants strong bilateral relations between the Parliament of Namibia and that of Japan. Hon. Katjavivi made the call today (20/08/18) when he met Japanese Members of Parliament, Hons. Hitoshi Kikawada and Ichiro Aisawa when they visited parliament in the company of Japan’s Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Hideaki Harada.

The two Members of Parliament are part of the Japan - Africa Parliamentary Friendship Group, which Hon. Aisawa also chairs.

Hon. Katjavivi hinted at cooperation related to improving the parliamentary function of oversight. “We should develop a relationship aimed at advancing good practices and we should be able to come up with a framework that would constitute our relationship. For us it’s a question of oversight in order to improve service delivery and the quality of life for our people”, said Katjavivi.

 

The Speaker further noted that Japan could look at other areas of development that may be mutually beneficial, adding that Namibia can be transformed into a hub for the Southern African region. “Namibia has natural resources that could be used to create a win - win situation for both countries. Namibia might have a small population but being a peaceful country, it may be ideal to serve as a hub for the rest of SADC”, noted Katjavivi.

Ambassador Harada concurred with the Speaker’s assertion on transforming Namibia into a regional hub, adding that Japan has supported such efforts through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The agency has been a strategic partner of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) since 2013 and has provided technical expertise to the formulation of Namibia’s logistics masterplan.

Hon. Aisawa also shared the same sentiments, praising Namibia’s democracy and the prevailing peace, values he noted other African countries could emulate. He said Japan was looking at enhancing development in Africa and has been interested in cooperation aimed in the areas of human capital, medicine and health and other technical areas. “Namibia has good governance, peace and the rule of law therefore it is very important to push forward this corridor project. We would also like to look into areas such as Human capital, medicine and health among other technical areas”, noted the Japanese MP.

He further invited Namibia to participate at the upcoming Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD) as a precursor for the envisaged strong bilateral relations. The conference is scheduled for Yokohama, Japan in 2019 at a date that is yet to be disclosed.

Legislature has a role to play in genocide says Speaker, 30 August 2018

: Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (right) with visiting German MP, Hon. Wolfgang Stefinger

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi says both the Namibian and German Parliaments have a critical role to play in the finalization of the genocide negations between the two countries. Hon. Katjavivi made this plea when German member of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Wolfgang Stefinger paid a courtesy call today (30/08/18).

As part of efforts made by the legislature concerning the issue, Hon. Katjavivi noted that he led a delegation of MPs to German in 2013 to seek dialogue between the two countries. “We visited Berlin in 2013 and a report was compiled. Our aim was for the two countries to have a dialogue over the issue and German MPs were receptive to the idea of a dialogue”, said Katjavivi.

He further noted that the two countries have continuously showed interest in resolving the genocide issue as can be attested by the appointment of a special envoy, a process that kick started the talks. He urged the two parliament to continue to assist in the negotiations. “We currently have the discussion taking place between our two countries through a special envoy. The Namibian and German Parliaments should step in whenever required to assist. There is goodwill to wanting to succeed from both parties”, said the Speaker.

 

He was also happy that the German government has accepted the 1904/ 1908 massacre as a genocide. “The acceptance by German for the event to be classified as genocide, something that was not the case in the past, is a step in the right direction. We now need to be bold and show leadership as we find a solution”, implored Katjavivi.

The mass ethnic killings of the Hereros and Nama by German colonial troops took place between 1904 and 1908 following their uprising. More than 100 000 people were exterminated. Some of the victims were beheaded, and their skulls sent to Germany for scientific experiments.

Katjavivi further appealed for Parliamentary cooperation and other areas such as vocational training. “We have to prioritise vocational training and German being a leader in this sector, it may play an important role in its development. Namibia also has a multi-party democracy that needs to be nurtured. It’s important that the Namibian parliament continues to play a critical role in oversight in order to hold government to account. We therefore need to strengthen our mechanisms in order to empower our Members of Parliament”, said the Speaker. Hon. Wolfgang on his part noted that German was ready to bolster the already existing relations, hailing Namibia’s multi-party democracy he believes could be emulated by other countries. “We recognize the special relations between our two countries. We look forward to strengthening the relations not only on a political level but even economically”, pledged the German MP.

The German MP is in the country as part of a delegation sent to observe a ceremony to mark the return of 27 human remains of the victims of the genocide.

Second Session of Junior National Council a success

Members of the First Junior Council (JNC) with the Vice-Chairperson of the National Council (NC) Hon. Bernard Sibalatani (in the middle, next to him on left is the Chairperson of JNC, Hon. John Mbako), Members of Parliament in the NC, Secretary to the National Council Emilia Mkusa (second from left), officials from the National Council and one of the presenters Mandela Kapere posing for the group photo during the Second Session of the JNC

 

  Story by Rafael Hangula

The First Junior National Council (JNC) has successfully concluded its Second Session, which took place from 30 to 31 August 2018 under the theme Enhancing Partnerships to Strengthen Good Governance in Namibia.

The second session resulted in nine resolutions from the 40 junior councillors representing Namibia’s 14 regions in the two-day event.

The Vice-Chairperson of the National Council Hon. Bernard Sibalatani when he officially opened the session said that the Junior National Council contributes immensely to the deepening of Namibia’s democracy and it is one of the tools for involvement and participation of the young citizens in the Legislature.

“I must say that this Legislature belongs to you and we shall continuously strive to ensure that the voices of young people are heard within this Chamber. I thus challenge you to take full ownership of the Chamber,” said Sibalatani.

 

He added that the National Council is taking forward this invaluable programme because democracy demands active and involved citizens of all ages taking action to make their societies a better place.

“We cannot expect young people to emerge from secondary schools as active citizens if they have no understanding or experience of what participation in democracy means,” he stressed.

“We are glad to note that there has been a positive response to some of the recommendations adopted by our first Junior Council. Out of 11 recommendations, 6 were successfully implemented,” he said.

The Junior Council is one of the many initiatives of the National Council in achieving its strategic goal of “Enhancing Public Participation in the Law-Making Process”.

The junior councilors passed the following recommendations:

  • National leaders to take into account or solicit the views of the youth in policy form and implementation, The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture should make aptitude Test compulsory at grade 7 and 9 to ensure focus learning and specialization skills development from a younger age, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture should consider allowing schools to let learners take 7th subject provided that they are willing and able to cope with additional pressure and while acknowledging the existence of the neighbourhood watch initiatives, there is still a need for broader awareness on the importance of establishment of the neighbourhood watches and its benefits, especially within the poorer communities.
  • Life Skills curriculum should address social media platforms with its benefits and disadvantages to learners from younger age, there is a need for social network policies in our country, hence the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) should spearhead the establishment and implementation of effective social media policy, schools should facilitate education tours to extractive industry establishments to trigger interest of youth, the Ministry Education, Arts and Culture should build the capacity of the Life Skills teachers and also to make it compulsory for the teachers to attend career fairs.

And finally the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation should actively engage the national tertiary institutions to streamline the faculties with Vision 2030, Harambe Prosperity Plan and National Development Plans (NDPs) to ensure that skills they teach and build are actually the skills required by the job market.

The JNC held several debates on topics such as strengthening youth participation in budgeting process at local and national levels, the role of media in youth development, is our education system preparing the youth for futuristic challenges: How to succeed in a globalized, technology driven, knowledge-based world, effects of human trafficking on the youth and effects of cybercrime on the youth amongst others.

Inaugurated in 2017, the JNC is the mouthpiece of school going youth in Namibia through which the youth voice their opinions and debate matters of national and international interest.

Its composition mirrors that of its senior counterparts, with three members from the 14 Junior Regional Councils, which makes up the 42 members of the Junior National Council. The members of the JNC are nominated in their regions through a process based on their leadership skills and ability to debate issues of common interest.

Speaker welcomes Namibian and German delegation ahead of skulls repatriation ceremony, 31 August 2018

Hon. Katjavivi welcoming the delegation

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi has welcomed both the Namibian and German delegation involved in the 3rd repatriation of human remains from Germany at Parliament.

A ceremony to mark the return of the 27 human skulls will be held at the Parliament gardens today (31/08/18).

Hon. Katjavivi noted that the repatriation is part of the healing process from the painful past that continues to haunt both countries. Present at the welcoming meeting was a high powered delegation comprised of Vice President, H.E. Hon. Nangolo Mbumba, Prime Minister, Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila, Education and Arts Minister, Hon. Katrina Hanse Himarwa, Namibian Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Christine Hoebes, Special envoy on genocide, Dr. Zed Ngavirue and Namibian Ambassador to German, H.E. Andreas Guibeb. The German government is represented by its State Minister for Cultural Affairs and Africa, Hon. Michelle Müntefering and German Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Christian Schlaga among many others.

 

The mass ethnic killings of the Hereros and Nama by German colonial troops took place between 1904 and 1908 following their uprising. More than 100 000 people were exterminated. Some of the victims were beheaded, and their skulls sent to Germany for scientific experiments.

MPs join the world in fighting T.B. by launching Caucus, 11 September 2018

Members of Parliament listen to speeches attentively at the launch of the T.B. Caucus

 

  Story by George Sanzila

The Namibia Parliamentary T.B. Caucus was launched at the National Assembly today by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (11/09/18). The Caucus emanates from the Barcelona Declaration that is open to any political representative in the world to sign up for the fight against T.B.

Namibia is classified among the countries with the highest T.B. and H.I.V burden worldwide. At the launch, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the newly created Caucus, Hon. Elma Dienda appealed for both political will and allocation of adequate financial resources to fight the epidemic.

The same sentiments were echoed by the Deputy Minister of Health and Social services who noted that although Namibia has made great strides in fighting the killer disease, more still needs to be done particularly with drug resistant T.B.

 

Country representative of the World Health Organization, Dr. Charles Sagoe-Moses noted that due to the seriousness of the scourge, the world has realized the importance of joint efforts hence the signing up by lawmakers.

The T.B. Caucus is intended to raise awareness about the disease among politicians, so that they step up their advocacy efforts. To date over 2300 political representatives have signed up from over 130 countries.

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