17 October 2017

Namibia: Mbumba Must Apologise or Else - NUNW

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba has until today to apologise to the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) for his "exclusion of the federation's representatives" from the party's central committee meeting on Sunday.

NUNW secretary general Job Muniaro announced the ultimatum at a media event after the federation's representatives were blocked from participating at the meeting.

The Namibia Public Worker's Union (Napwu) general secretary, Petrus Nevonga, was to attend the meeting on behalf of the federation, but suspended NUNW president Ismael Kasuto, who previously represented the federaion at the central committee, also showed up on invitation of Mbumba.

Kasuto was suspended by the federation in July this year, but has been fighting his suspension ever since.

The Namibian understands that the two unionists were asked to leave the meeting because the party had not been informed about the change of representation at the central committee. The notification was supposed to have been made in the politburo by Mbumba, but the federation on Sunday claimed this never happened.

The Namibian also understands that the federation submitted two contradicting delegate lists to Swapo's congress, one submitted by Muniaro and the other by Kasuto. Muniaro yesterday said Kasuto's list was not legitimate as he was suspended by the federation and had no right to represent the federation.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Mbumba said the federation was excluded because of unresolved internal matters and complications around its list of delegates to congress.

Mbumba said Swapo was aware of the continuing internal disputes in the labour federation, but said the party would wait for these disputes to be resolved before finalising the list of congress delegates.

However, Muniaro described Mbumba's actions as dictatorial, intimidatory and disrespectful, labelling Mbumba and "the acting president" [Hage Geingob's] decision "tantamount to the deliberate destruction of the party".

He said Mbumba was informed about Kasuto's suspension, Nevonga's replacing of Kasuto as NUNW representative at the central committee and the nomination of delegates to Swapo's congress.

The list of NUNW delegates submitted by Muniaro included education deputy minister Ester Anna Nghipondoka and former Swapo party youth league secretary Elijah Ngurare, who had interest in the party's secretary general position.

"The secretary general misused his office to hide the instructive correspondences by NUNW to the party's relevant structures," Muniaro alleged.

A fuming Nevonga on Sunday said Mbumba had been informed about the change of representation, but deliberately ignored their communications and went ahead with inviting Kasuto to the meeting.

"He [Mbumba] was asked in the meeting whether he had received our correspondence, but he was mute. Kasuto was removed by the NUNW, but his office [Mbumba] still chose to invite him, for reasons only known to him.

"That shows you that the decision to ignore our communications was deliberate," Nevonga said, adding that Mbumba was unethical and unfit for the position of Swapo secretary general.

If Mbumba does not apologise by today or fails to recognise Nevonga as the federation's representative to the central committee, as well as finalise the list of delegates to next month's congress, Nevonga said the party would face "unspecified consequences" from the NUNW.

At Sunday's central committee meeting candidates were nominated to contest for the party's top four positions at the November congress. President Hage Geingob will contest for the party's presidency against youth minister Jerry Ekandjo and former Prime Minister Nahas Angula.

International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah will battle for the party's vice presidency against home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Swapo information secretary Helmut Angula.

Urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa will lock horns with Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu for the secretary general position, while former deputy prime minister Marco Hausiku will face business woman Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun and parliamentarian Petrina Haingura for the deputy secretary general position.

Kasuto did not respond to questions sent to him yesterday.

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