Monday, 18 January, 2021

Namibia: Landless People’s Movement Wants Ministers’ Fishing Rights Revoked

The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) said it will table a motion in the National Assembly in which it will seek to have fishing rights of ministers and members of parliament revoked. “[We] will try to amend the Marine Resources Act of 2014. We will look into the amendments that were done by the former ministers that are currently in jail to allow that all Namibians are given the opportunity to participate in the process of the fishing rights,” said the party’s spokesperson and MP Utaara Mootu during a media briefing yesterday. “We are also going to make sure that ministers and MPs that have fishing rights are revoked with immediate effect. We are also going to fight for the nationalisation of fishing quotas to avoid a situation such as the Fishrot.”

The Marine Resources Act has become a hot potato for lawmakers after former minister Bernhard Esau was given more powers in the allocation of fishing rights. Esau, who resigned last year after being implicated in the international bribery fishing scandal, was empowered by the Act to identify entities diligently contributing to “governmental objectives, policies and strategies” so that such entities may be incentivised with special quotas aimed at cementing initiatives that positively contribute to governmental objectives.

Esau and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala were arrested for allegedly conspiring with Iceland’s biggest fishing company Samherji to receive payments worth millions of dollars in exchange for fishing quotas. Fisheries minister Albert Kawana was earlier this year quoted as saying that government will reverse amendments to the Marine Resources Act to eliminate corruption in the allocation of quotas to fishing rights holders.

“The amendments will be reversed and other recommendations in terms of improving the Act will also be implemented,” Kawana was quoted as saying. The National Assembly is expected to resume business next week Tuesday. Parliamentary spokesperson David Nahogandja last week said the August House would resume its sittings next week Tuesday with the tabling of the national budget by finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi. He said logistics have been put in place to ensure that parliament complies with the state of emergency regulations as well as World Health Organisation (WHO) directives of social distancing. “Both the National Assembly chamber and the C1 Conference Hall will be used for the sessions, the latter by way of teleconferencing. Forty-nine (49) members who constitutes a voting quorum will be allowed to sit in the chamber that has a capacity to accommodate 104 members,” Nahogandja said.

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