Deputy Speaker in Swakopmund, Erongo Region visiting and Informal Settlement
Legal Framework and Mandate Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 of the Namibian Constitution provides among others for establishment, duties and functions of the National Assembly and National Council that form the Parliament of Namibia It is the duty of the two Houses of Parliament to pass and review laws respectively; conduct parliamentary oversight, represent the people, uphold the Constitution guided by public interest Therefore, regular interaction with the people is important
Origin of the Outreach Programme “ Taking Parliament to the People” Outreach programme started in the 1990’s. Objectives are to: – Create a platform of exchange between the Legislature and Regional Governors; Regional Councillors, Community and Traditional Leaders as well as Spiritual Leaders – Engage community in meaningful exchange with Parliamentarians on legislative and oversight issues – Improve communication between citizenry and elected representatives – Consult the electorate on public service delivery by Government Offices, Ministries and Agencies as part of the Legislature’s oversight function
Logistics Namibia is a geographically vast country with approximately 2 million people with thirteen regions. The country is thus sparsely populated, which requires extensive travelling by road It takes approximately one and a half week to reach all constituencies in one region only. The programme is conducted during the recess period of Parliament only Proper planning, timing and notification are essential to secure attendance of the public
Information to the Public The outreach programme is an education and awareness creation programme of Parliament. The following information is usually shared with the public: – Definition of the State – The three pillars of the State – The responsibilities of the President – The functions of the National Assembly and National Council – The importance of the Constitution
...Information to the Public Formation of the Legislature Role, functions and importance of Parliamentary Standing Committees Importance and functions of International, Continental and Regional parliamentary organisations e.g. IPU; CPA; PAP; SADC PF
Questions and Issues by the Public Members of the public make use of this opportunity to ask questions and raise issues that directly or indirectly affect their daily lives. The following are typical issues that come to the fore: – Health; Education; Land; Housing; Water; Electricity; Sanitation; Crime; Agriculture; Public Works; Unemployment ; Public participation, etc.
Reporting A report of the Outreach Programme is prepared and tabled in the National Assembly or the National Council The practice has been to table the report for note-taking. Implementation of the recommendations remain a challenge that requires information on best practices. The IPU’s assistance on the issue of implementation by the Executive would be most welcome.
Other Forms of Outreach Parliamentary Committees conduct public hearings in the Regions. Public hearings are usually conducted on Bills and Issues before Parliament or on Issues that the Standing Committees deem necessary to solicit public input Parliament has stands at annual trade and agricultural fairs where Parliament is showcased and information is shared with the public
...Other Forms of Outreach A Children’s Parliament is being conducted from time to time to involve the youth and expose them to the workings of the Legislature
Legal Affairs Committee consulting with the Magistrate and Court Officers
Constraints Limited Financial and Human Resources Numerous Committee activities during the recess restricts the participation of Members of Parliament in the Programme
Successes Government Offices, Ministries, Agencies is increasingly taking note of the Recommendations contained in the outreach reports Media involvement has been successful, which in turn creates awareness Knowledge of the citizenry is being enhanced through the outreach activities