31 October 2012

Namibia: Evilastus Kaaronda Fired

THE two most powerful people in the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) were fired by the NUNW’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) during an emergency meeting yesterday.

NUNW president Elias Manga and the federation’s secretary general, Evilastus Kaaronda, were suspended and dismissed respectively without any disciplinary hearing.

The two can only appeal the CEC decision at the NUNW’s next congress.

Manga, who chaired the meeting, was told by the delegates that he was suspended on the grounds of his failure to ensure effective supervision over Kaaronda and the entire federation.

The first vice president, Connie Pandeni, who did not attend the meeting, will take over in an acting position.

The reasons for Kaaronda’s dismissal were given as “gross non-compliance with regard to his duties and responsibilities”, the “disunity, division and mistrust” he had allegedly caused among union leaders, and his “under-performance and connivance with rival unions”.

The acting deputy secretary general, Alfred Angula, who challenged Kaaronda at the previous NUNW congress but failed and was sneaked into the federation’s structure, will now act as secretary general.

Kaaronda was supposed to hand over the keys and other possessions of the NUNW before the end of business yesterday, but only heard of his dismissal from The Namibian.

Both Kaaronda and Manga are barred from the premises of the NUNW during their suspension and dismissal.

According to Thomas Gideon, a CEC member of the NUNW who chaired yesterday’s media briefing, a committee under the chairmanship of Nafau general secretary Kiros Sackarias has been established to safeguard the property of the federation and to defend the CEC’s actions if necessary.

Manga told The Namibian that he was caught off-guard when he was told about the suspension, and left the meeting.

“I will now reflect what I should do, but do not want to comment any further on the issue in the media.”

Kaaronda was surprised to hear about his dismissal, saying he was never invited to the meeting. He said he was shocked to hear about Manga’s suspension.

Kaaronda said he would continue supporting the rights of workers.

“I was appointed by the workers and I’m not a puppet of the government or have to report to ministers as some of the union leaders are used to doing. I don’t have many masters, unlike the others. The workers are my master and I will now be guided by them what to do.”

He said the CEC meeting was not called in a constitutionally sound manner and that he had not decided on the way forward yet.

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