MPs Ask to Be Taught Manners

MEMBERS of parliament (MPs) have requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to train them on how to behave at functions to avoid embarrassment.

The suggestion was made in the National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday where they discussed the foreign affairs ministry budget vote. The ministry plans holding a workshop later this year for training MPs on etiquette and protocol.

Regional and local government minister Charles Namoloh who also served as an ambassador in the past suggested that there be courses instead of a once-off workshop.

“We must conduct courses to our ministers. Etiquette and protocol and is very important,” he said.

Namoloh also suggested that retired diplomats in Namibia be invited to share their experience to warn younger diplomats and ministers of pitfalls.

Youth minister Jerry Ekandjo suggested that “we have to go for induction, even as politicians, so that we know what we are going to do not to be embarrassed”.

Ekandjo added that there are MPs who need to be taught how to behave, such as eating something before going to events to avoid filling up your plate with food.

“Comrade minister, we really need induction,” he said, adding that the training will also serve politicians when appointed on foreign missions.

Ekandjo gave an example of a recent presidential reception at parliament where he saw MPs filling up their plates to an extent that they could not walk with the plate without food falling off.

The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Rosalia Nghidinwa, supported Ekandjo’s claims about filling up plates, a practice she described as ‘kilimanjaros’ – so named after the highest mountain in Africa which is in Tanzania.

“I want that training to go up to the regional and constituency level because we also send out international guests there,” she said.

Deputy justice minister Tommy Nambahu agreed, saying there is a need to educate politicians on etiquette.

“I see even at functions here. You see people with bags, putting all kinds of things into their bags to take home. A doggy bag. How do you do that as a diplomat?” he asked.

Deputy Minister of Defence Petrus Ilonga complained about not being invited at events and the level of respect the position is given.

“When it comes to invitations comrade minister, we are not invited but you find that our accounting officers, are there, with their wives and friends,” Iilonga said.

He asked for clarification on why deputy ministers are placed in terms of protocol because their position in other countries is highly rated, to an extent that they make courtesy calls on the President.

The foreign affairs budget indicates that N$15,9 million has been allocated towards protocol and consular affairs and part of that budget will go towards workshops to teach State officials manners.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said that MPs, governors and councillors will also be trained due to the interest shown during that debate. She, however, said that stretching the protocol training to MPs will require additional funding.

“For now we are talking about officials. As for spouses however, the parliament through your own budget, you can ask us to conduct the training,” she added.

Nandi-Ndaitwah also said that she suggested to the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management to introduce foreign service courses that can also be taught to MPs.

Nandi-Ndaitwah also revealed that her ministry is working on plans to build a new head office because the ministry needs a new face.

Source : The Namibian