Constitutional Amendments Passed

PARLIAMENT yesterday passed the Third Constitutional Amendment Bill that has been mired in controversy since its tabling last month ahead of the national elections.

The passing of the Bill through parliament will now make way for the seats in the National Council to be increased from 26 to 42 and in the National Assembly from 72 to 96.

It will also see the appointment of a vice president and allow the increase in the number of presidential appointments in the National Assembly from six to eight.

Other notable changes include making provision for the Namibia Central Intelligence Service in the Constitution and allowing the President to appoint the head of the intelligence agency, who will also become a part of the Security Commission.

The passing of the Bill now also means that there will be a limit on the National Council’s review powers in relation to bills, providing for the levying of taxes and the national budget. Changes to the size of the National Council quorum requirements will also be made.

Speaking in parliament yesterday, presidential affairs minister and Attorney General Albert Kawana expressed his gratitude to the House and once again maintained that consultations with both the opposition and the public took place.

Opposition parties and the public at large wanted thorough consultations on the Bill before it passed parliament with civil society organisations and academics fearing that if passed, the Bill might give the President more power and control over state affairs, posing a threat to the country’s democracy.

Source : The Namibian