Photo: The Namibian
President Hage Geingob’s sixth State of the Nation Address ended in chaos on Thursday, with Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi and second in command Henny Seibeb being removed from the National Assembly (NA) chambers.
Parliament was abruptly adjourned when a commotion erupted following Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi’s instruction for security to escort Swartbooi and Seibeb out of the chambers.
The two were interjecting while other Members of Parliament (MPs) were making their contributions during the question and answer session between Geingob and parliamentarians.
“You must please leave, I am asking you for the final time, please leave the chamber. Security, please escort them out,” Katjavivi instructed.
Although he initially refused to leave the chamber willingly, Swartbooi was later escorted out by about six security personnel, while Seibeb was physically dragged out by both parliament and presidential security after he banged on a table before tearing up the second Harambee Prosperity booklet.
Swartbooi later told journalists he was happy to be kicked out of the session as it shows they are “making an impact on a corrupt State.”
Swartbooi, who referred to the security personnel as thugs, threatened to deal with them once his party takes over government.
“I am very pleased that they have their people here in multitude just to remove one person. Some of these people I know personally.
When we take over, we are going to deal with them. This is the undemocratic tendency of the Swapo party,” Swartbooi said.
Leader of the Popular Democratic Movement, McHenry Venaani, condemned both the speaker and president for allowing presidential security personnel to touch and remove a Member of Parliament from the chamber.
“The security of the president have no right to remove an MP from Parliament. It is wrong and unlawful,” Venaani said.
NA Deputy Speaker, Loide Kasingo, however defended the intervention of the president’s security, saying it is justified as Swartbooi and Seibeb displayed threatening behaviour.
“The bodyguard came to protect the president. They came after the disruption started, after one of them threw the coat of arms from the table in the direction of the president. It could have hurt the president, so their intervention was justified. The purpose of the bodyguard is to protect the president, so you cannot expected them to sit while the president is sort of in danger,” Kasingo said.
Source: Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA)