1 November 2012

Namibia: Suspended NUNW Boss 'On Leave'

Windhoek' — The expelled Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Evilastus Kaaronda, said he has not received a letter of expulsion, since he is still on leave.

Both Kaaronda and suspended NUNW President Elias Manga had by yesterday not received the purported letters of suspension and expulsion. "I'm on leave until 12 November and we can talk about this when I'm back at the office," said the outspoken Kaaronda.

Meanwhile, Manga, who chaired Tuesday's Central Executive Committee meeting where both the suspension and dismissal were discussed and announced, without a disciplinary hearing, said: "I could not believe my ears," when approached by New Era.

"The only thing that was on my mind was the current unrest involving teachers and I thought the meeting was about how we could really assist Nantu (Namibia National Teachers Union) with the teachers demonstration. I thought this would have been the right opportunity to address the situation."

The suspended union president added that the fact that a press conference was called immediately after the meeting means that the decision was taken prior to Tuesday's gathering.

Manga said he was informed at the meeting that he could only appeal the decision at the next congress, which is likely to take place in 2014 or 2015.

"So I said wow! What can I do? Let me not try to resist and I just took it as it came and I started asking myself 'what are the ulterior motives'," said Manga. According to media reports yesterday, Kaaronda and Manga are barred from the NUNW premises while the decision remains in force.

Kaaronda expressed surprise about the decision, saying he was not even invited to the meeting, adding he was "shocked about Manga's suspension".

"Even if the group feels that the secretary general should be suspended or dismissed, there must be an opportunity to be heard.

"And even though I have verbally received notice of my suspension I have not received anything in writing," said Kaaronda.

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