23 August 2017

Namibia: Confusion Deepens Over NUNW Presidency

Windhoek — Confusion continues to swirl around the leadership of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) as both Ismael Kasuto and Albert Liswaniso maintain they are the NUNW president.

Also, Kasuto says the list of 16 delegates - all from the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) - which appears on social media, from the federation to the party congress, is baseless. He added that such nominees shall only be submitted after a constitutional CEC (central executive committee) meeting is held in terms of article 9, and that as president he had informed the Swapo Party to this effect. A statement issued on Saturday by NUNW 1st president Albert Liswaniso stated that Kasuto was removed as president during the union's CEC meeting with immediate effect, and barred from conducting any business in any capacity whatsoever on behalf of the union.

But Kasuto, who walked out of Saturday's meeting, maintains the meeting was unconstitutional and indicated

Liswaniso is retired and was not supposed to be at the meeting in the first place.

"Is he only knowing today that I am retired, he already knows? It was tabled in the exco meeting and I am still an honourary member of NANTU," shot back Liswaniso.

Liswaniso said that if the union president is no longer there the 1st vice-president takes over. "Even if he was not removed but on leave the person who seconds him becomes acting president. I am the acting president until the next congress, which is in 2019."

When asked about the confusion at the union, Liswaniso denied there is confusion within the federation.

"It is only when people have their own interest then they bring in the confusion. NUNW had its own list of delegates to the party congress and submitted names to the vetting committee of NUNW, and there was nothing attached to their names to indicate they met the requirements of the party to be at the forthcoming congress. So how do you vote for the submitted names because it says you must look at the requirements. If the person meets the requirement then they qualify, not only members from MUN did not qualify but from other unions that did not meet the requirements," stated Liswaniso

Kasuto explained in a statement issued yesterday that some affiliates became disruptive during Saturday's meeting so he could not address the issues of partial and non-payment of affiliation fees versus meeting composition, as required in terms of the NUNW constitution, to meet the constitutional objective in the interest of workers.

Kasuto said being in good standing is a prerequisite to have voting rights in such a meeting as the CEC, which most affiliates present during the specific meeting "conflicted and were affected because they didn't pay their 10% affiliation fees as required".

He stated that MUN as the only paid up union has on numerous occasions requested that affiliates' books be opened before they proceed with the meeting for the CEC to be properly constituted.

"However, this motion was disrupted and turned down by the administration and a few meeting attendees from NAPWU, NANTU, MANWU, NAMIU and NATAU. It is at this point that MUN registered its objection and walked out of the meeting.

"Whenever I wanted to address the constitutionality of the NUNW CEC meeting, the same few meeting attendees from

NAPWU, NANTU, MANWU, NAMIU and NATAU on numerous occasions disrupted the meeting from being constructive and to address issues of common interests within the federation, because they were conflicted," said Kasuto. On the issue of unpaid union members Liswaniso told New Era they were set to resolve the issue during the meeting but he (Kasuto) walked out of the meeting without knowing the structures that were discussed.

"That is an internal problem that could have gotten a solution internally - so he decided to walk out of the meeting and it is his democratic right to do so, so the meeting continued and it was a constitutional meeting."

He further said the issue of unpaid members is an internal issue and any organisation has ways to solve its internal problems and they are going to find a way. "It's been existing (unpaid members) since he came here - there was this problem and we are solving it bit by bit."

Liswaniso defended the 16 delegates to the congress, saying they met the requirements in terms of the Swapo Party constitution.

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