10 June 2021
Namibia in grip of Covid wave
The parliamentary sitting for today (10 June 2021) was cancelled due to Covid-19 cases reported among parliamentary staff.
This is a reflection of the exponential spike in the number of new infections, hospitalisations, and deaths recorded across the country over the last few weeks.
Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula in Parliament on Wednesday (9 June 2021) said the numbers are “alarming”.
The ministry on Tuesday reported a 25% positivity ratio from tests over a 24-hour period.
The deadly South African variant of the virus was confirmed in a “significant” number of Covid-19 positive cases.
Shangula reported that from 7 June Namibia reported a cumulative number of 59'092 confirmed cases and 912 deaths, compared to 355 deaths reported by 7 February.
In the last two weeks Namibia reported 5'761 new confirmed cases and 147 deaths.
The increased numbers are placing a huge strain on public and private health facilities.
The occupancy rate in most Covid-19 isolation and intensive care units ranges between 67% and 100% on any given day.
The ministry started with its vaccination roll-out on 18 March with donations of 100'000 doses of China's Sinopharm, and 30'000 doses of Covishield from India.
Namibia also received two consignments totalling 67'200 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility.
Shangula said more doses of vaccines are expected from Sinopharm through the African Medical Supply (AMS) platform.
By 7 June 76'259 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, and 11'608 were fully vaccinated.
Motion on youth empowerment in offing
Landless People's Movement (LPM) MP Utaara Mootu will table a motion in Parliament on an 'integrated youth development strategy'.
She said the aim of the motion is to harness political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal instruments for the eradication of poverty among the country's youth.
Mootu said while the youth form the bulk of the Namibian nation, government's response over the last 31 years since independence has been “inadequate or misplaced”.
“The youth of Namibia are intentionally exposed to poverty and unemployment, worse than ever before,” Mootu said.
Mootu also called for an investment conference to attract investments to the newly opened Neckertal Dam in the south of the country.
Practical solution to water debts required
United Democratic Front (UDF) MP Dudu Murorua wants Parliament to debate and consider practical means that will help local authorities become self-sustaining in servicing their water debts to the national water utility, NamWater.
Many municipalities are in arrears with their water payments, payments they are not able to make and which leave them indefinitely indebted to NamWater.
Kasingo explains PAP chaos
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Loide Kasingo on 8 June 2021 said the abrupt chaotic ending of the fourth ordinary session of the fifth Pan African Parliament (PAP) was due to a succession battle between African regional blocks making up the legislative body.
Kasingo has led the Namibian delegation of lawmakers to the session in May in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Reporting to the Namibian Parliament this week, she said despite the principle of geographical rotation agreed upon by the African Union, the northern and southern African regions have been deprived of the leadership since the inception of PAP in 2004.
“This was the bone of contention in the recent session of PAP,” Kasingo said.
For the past 17 years, the presidency of PAP was held by eastern, central, and western African regions.
Kasingo said the opposition to the demands of rotation by western and some other regions degenerated into chaos, which warranted the suspension of the electoral process and the session.