opinionBy Silume Simataa
I FEEL obliged to provide some background to what led to a 'deadlock' between the NANTU national leadership and the teachers in general (and the Khomas teachers in particular). By the way, a deadlock or impasse, or stalemate can only be reached if two parties with differing interests engage in negotiations to reach a compromise.
The nation should be informed that the term 'differing' implies that NANTU and the teachers' employer (government) would never reach a deadlock, for the two have joined forces. The deadlock, or impasse, is brought about by the different standpoints and interests the two opposing parties have.
The NANTU national representatives were elected to play the role employees should play on the Namibian employment landscape. It is the voice of teachers they had to sound and not theirs ... sorry.
It should be hinted here that all what the employees aspire for in the worker-management relationship are their voices and their benefits. They need to be heard in their environment of employment and representatives are therefore elected to voice out their (teachers') grievances to their employer.
It should be made clear that both the employees (teachers) and their representatives (NANTU leadership) are a union, united in a relationship similar to that of a man and a woman in marriage.
They belong to one team and their opponent is their employer (Namibian government in this case).
It is ironical that they chose to conceal information from people who saw them to such positions - that was a self- inflicted wound rendered with a double-edged sword, sorry comrades.
The representatives have a mandate (obligation) to represent their union members and the members have the right to voice their views through their representatives.
They have the right to know what is going on and they reserve the mandate to call their representatives and demand to know what is afoot. The NANTU national leadership went to the negotiation venue, met the counterpart and fell in love to a point of no return. The Khomas teachers suspected the silent stance assumed by their representatives was due to the adulterous bond and demanded that their representatives honoured the marriage vows they had promised to respect to eternity.
In fact, it is the NANTU national leadership that should face conjugal infidelity charges, for marriage promises were never honored.
The demands by the Khomas teachers to be granted audience by their NANTU national leadership fell on deaf ears. This owed to the fact that the calls made by teachers spelt out a premature end to the love business and the option to stay put appeared to be the viable option.
The NANTU national leadership is mired in a love quagmire, perhaps it is because all the niceties and other paraphernalia are too enticing for them to vacate the 'bedroom'.
The leadership employs terms such as procedures, structures, deadlock and undisciplined chairperson to justify their failure to speak to the masses.
The idea that the academic level of teachers was too low to enhance comprehension of the motive for the indifferent stance assumed by their representatives backfired.
They conceded a heavy political own goal and it shall surely haunt them for many, many years to come.
The teachers chose to raise their concerns with their employers and the alliance with their NANTU leadership was confirmed. The employers chose to tread the path the teachers expected they would follow.
It confirmed the two were mired in some deep-seated colonial habits of employing threats and rhetorical fallacies designed to silence the voices of the Namibian teachers. These teachers are a different crop altogether. They know the principle underlying the spirit of collective bargaining requires them to have their voices heard.
They are ready to respect authority that does not threaten to trample on their rights.
Yes, they were accused of not obeying calls to honour their obligation by doing duties in delivering lessons to learners. However, it should be explained why teachers have to honour such obligations at the expense of their rights. Common sense should be allowed to dictate that rights outweigh obligations.
Not even threats could cleanse the teachers' brains of such reality and the negotiations 'being at an advanced stage' is not enough to quench their thirst for knowledge of what is actually at play in the 'bedrooms'.
The time to take teachers for granted is no more and the time to preach nonsensical religion that teaching was a calling has failed to find solace in the hearts of the current crop of teachers. The academic level attained has readied them to follow what is behind the headlines, as opposed to honoring utterances embedded with rhetorical overtones. The calls to awaken the NANTU national leadership from its slumber has failed and its husband keeps referring teachers back to someone under the solace of its warm 'bedrooms'. Teachers say no to such kind of leadership...
I rest my case for now.