5 December 2012

Namibia: Fur Flies At NUNW Building

A STORM erupted at the head office of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) yesterday morning when two union leaders allegedly assaulted each other.

At the centre of the altercation were the acting secretary general of the NUNW, Alfred Angula, and the national secretary of the Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu), Samuel Vries.

According to Angula, Vries barged into his office at about 09h30 and attacked him behind his desk while he was on the phone. “He started fighting with me. I struggled to get him out.”

Alarmed by the sounds, people from other NUNW offices came to see what was happening as they were struggling in the corridors, Angula said.

He said because Nafinu was suspended from the NUNW, Nafinu’s office-bearers were on Friday told to vacate their offices.

On Monday, they established that the offices had still not been vacated and sent them a reminder, Angula said.

Yesterday morning, he found out that the offices had still not been vacated. “So I went and removed the door handle. It’s a building that belongs to the NUNW.”

Vries says their secretary phoned him at home to inform him that Angula had removed the door handle. “He (Angula) tried to throw her out.”

When he reached the union building, he went to Angula’ office to fetch the door handle, Vries said.

He denies that he attacked Angula behind his desk. According to him, he just picked up the door handle, whereupon Angula jumped up and allegedly pushed him.

“I gave him a push back. If someone touches me, I need to resist. He also tried to kick me.”

About a recent incident in which he allegedly threatened Angula with a firearm, Vries yesterday said: “He is lying. It’s not the case.”

He maintained that Nafinu was just suspended from the decision-making structures from NUNW but that there was no resolution passed to have them removed from the premises.

Angula said he planned to press charges against Vries.

Nafinu was suspended on November 24 – days before the Swapo congress.

The reason given for the suspension, according to Asnath Zamuee, the Nafinu general secretary, was an allegation that her union had caused division in the NUNW stable by participating in a recent mass workers’ meeting. The union was reportedly also accused of instigating teachers to strike.

Zamuee said Nafinu was also accused of supporting fired NUNW secretary general Evilastus Kaaronda and the suspended NUNW president, Elia Manga, at the last NUNW congress in 2010.

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