The Namibian (Windhoek)

13 November 2012

Namibia: Kaaronda Challenges Dismissal

Photo: Leadership
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EVILASTUS Kaaronda, the fired secretary general of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), is fighting his dismissal.

In court papers, Kaaronda said that his dismissal was unlawful and he wants to be reinstated as secretary general of the NUNW.

“I have been summarily dismissed without a hearing and without a valid reason by an improperly constituted meeting,” he said.

He charged that he was removed in a “highhanded and vexatious manner” and “was not even given the courtesy of being informed about my dismissal but heard about this in the press”.

According to him, the main reason behind his dismissal is having “consistently taken up the issue of the Government Institution Pension Fund (GIPF) funds”.

This issue, he said, “reflects negatively on certain leaders within the federation”.

He was on leave when he was dismissed at an emergency meeting. His leave was supposed to end yesterday.

In the court documents, he said the meeting that dismissed him needed “necessary resolutions to establish that they were mandated to call a meeting and attend an ‘emergency’ meeting. I deny that there was any such emergency.”

Kaaronda maintained that his dismissal was in contravention of the NUNW’s constitution. The affiliate unions who attended the meeting where he was fired “had no mandate to call the meeting and to attend it”, he charged.

The unions that signed the resolution are the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu), the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), the Namibia Farm Workers Union (Nafwu), the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau), the Namibia National Teachers Union, the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu) and the Namibia Music Industry Union (Namiu).

All affiliated unions that attend and vote at an NUNW meeting must be in good financial standing in terms of the NUNW constitution.

Namiu, Nafwu, Natau and Nafau are not in good financial standing, Kaaronda stated.

“Accordingly, only Manwu, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), Nantu and Napwu could validly attend and vote at any meeting called in terms of the constitution.”

As a result, the gathering could not be regarded as a meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC).

“It therefore follows that the resolutions purportedly passed at such meeting were invalid and of no force and effect.”

As the secretary general, he can only be suspended or dismissed if the CEC finds him guilty of misconduct, negligence or if he has acted “in a manner detrimental to the interest of the federation or in conflict with this constitution”.

Should this be the case, the secretary general has the right to appeal to the union’s national congress against the suspension or dismissal.

Moreover, for the CEC to take disciplinary action against a secretary general, he would need a fair disciplinary hearing, Kaaronda said.

In his case, there was no disciplinary hearing, he added.

“I was not even presented with charges and given any opportunity to respond thereto prior to the purported decision being taken by the CEC to dismiss me from my position as secretary general.”

Only being able to appeal at the next NUNW congress in 2014 “renders such right absolutely meaningless”.

According to Kaaronda, he joined the union in 1999 and was employed as an education coordinator. In 2002, he was elected as the deputy secretary general and in 2006 as the union’s secretary general. He said he was re-elected to this position at the 2010 NUNW congress.

Asked whether he would also challenge his suspension, the suspended president of the union, Elia Manga, yesterday said: “At the moment, I have no comment.”

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