Politics is not for children: Iivula-Ithana

Swapo Member of Parliament (MP) Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana said there is no age limit in politics and that being an MP should not be seen as an employment opportunity.

Instead, parliament is a place to create laws, to scrutinise policies and to be on top of national issues, she when answered by Nampa if it was not time for her to retire and create room for aspiring younger legislators on Wednesday.

Let us not fool ourselves. Politics is not for children. Politics is for people whose minds have grown enough experience, either work experience, political experience or whatever experience. If we think parliament is an employment agency, then we are taking this country down the drain, she said.

Iivula-Ithana, 66, has been an MP since 1990.

Over the years, Iivula-Ithana has served as deputy minister of tourism and minister of Youth and Sport, Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Justice, Home Affairs and Immigration as well as Attorney-General.

There is no handover here. There are elections. The handover is with the civil servants. When you reach 60, you go. But I have not seen a law prescribing how old members of parliament should be, she concluded.

In Iivula-Ithana's eyes, only an individual who is physically or mentally unfit cannot become a parliamentarian.

According to her, Namibia must learn good practices from other mature political jurisdictions where the age of an individual is not a gauge for assuming political office.

Tell me, which parliament is being run by children? The ability and capability of an individual have nothing to do with age, she said.

On the downside, individuals � seemingly pointing to her own party � are bribing their way into parliament.

This, she said, is due to loopholes in the party-list systems that Namibia uses to elect candidates for the 96 NA seats.

Even people who themselves cannot for obvious reasons go to a village and convince villagers to vote for them can go to parliament today because their friends and cronies can say we will vote for you even if this person cannot contribute to the debate in parliament, she said.

Current National Assembly (NA) Speaker Peter Katjavivi who is 78-years-old confirmed his participation in this weekend's intraparty elections.

Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma who turns 67 on Sunday will also participate in the electoral college.

Immanuel Ngatjizeko - who has missed 121 parliamentary sittings over the last two years - could not be reached to confirm whether or not he would participate in the electoral college as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Over 200 Swapo members will convene in Windhoek this weekend to draw up a list of 96 members who will qualify for NA seats.

Namibia is braced for nationals elections in November.

Source: Namibia Press Agency