25 August 2017

Namibia: Nunw Infight Stinks of Political Flavour - Analysts

Windhoek — Infighting at the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) may compromise the interest of workers. If the leadership at the top is divided then the membership on the shop floor will also be affected and the functioning of NUNW may be affected, says political commentator, Phanuel Kaapama.

Another political commentator, Hoze Riruako, said as much as he does not have enough information about the unfolding events at NUNW... it has a smell of political flavour.

"The smell and the taste is that of political manoeuvring and political positioning," he said.

Kaapama told New Era yesterday the union's infighting might have to do with the upcoming congress because by virtue of Ismael Kasuto's position - who was reportedly removed as NUNW president, he represents the NUNW in the central committee of the Swapo Party and Swapo is going to have a congress.

"I think it is part of the post-independence political culture of cut-throat, where if you are not with us, you are against us," stated Kaapama, adding, "We may brace ourselves for a battle in the court of law."

Kaapama and Riruako's remarks follow the unfolding events this week at NUNW, where Kasuto maintained the special central executive committee meeting where he was removed as president was unconstitutional. The NUNW first president Albert Liswaniso reportedly replaced Kasuto as acting president, but Kasuto argued that Liswaniso is retired and was not supposed to be at the meeting in the first place.

Kasuto has since been threatened with legal action by lawyer Sisa Namandje on behalf of the union to stop representing himself as union president and if he continues it could result in an urgent court application.

In response, Kasuto informed Namandje that they are at liberty to opt for the avenues they want to explore.

Riruako says traditionally, the union leadership has for years been an area for serious contestation. "Whenever they are electing leaders, just go back in the history of the unions apart from the political influence, there will always be serious fights to dethrone the incumbent. There will also be serious fights for the incumbent to try to return and perpetuate his or her leadership much longer. That has been the nature and culture of the union in this country. You have never seen a voluntarily or more of a subtle or down to earth departure of leadership at the helm of the union," explained Riruako.

He referred to what happened when South African President Thabo Mbeki was dethroned in a very unprecedented way at Mangaung.

"That bitterness, the seed of bitterness that was planted there has now blossomed. It has now grown and it is the same thing that is haunting the current President because those people who were not happy in Mangaung never slept and are not happy and they are the ones preparing themselves to have Jacob Zuma dethroned," he said.

Lawyer Namandje expected Kasuto to undertake by end of Wednesday not to represent or carry out activities in the name of NUNW, failure to do so, Namandje would make an urgent application next week in the High Court for an interdict.

"We will seek a punitive court order against you should court be approached," stated the letter.

Kasuto told New Era that he has considered the content of Namandje's letter and it does not warrant his response at this stage.

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