… As Swapo Congress battle rages
By Elvis Muraranganda
BATTLE lines have been drawn in the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), over the alleged undemocratic appointment of the union’s 28 representatives to Swapo’s 14 regional executive committees (RECs), which if unchecked, will allow them voting rights at this year’s ruling party congress.
NUNW affiliate, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) dropped a bombshell this week, demanding the recall of the 28 unionists from the Swapo RECs, as well as those representing NUNW on various national boards.
It has also emerged that although the majority of the country’s trade unions deduct monthly fees from their members, they are allegedly failing to pay the mandated 10 percent to NUNW, as stipulated.
Swapo Secretary-General, Nangolo Mbumba, said he was aware of the concern that such an important process of electing NUNW representatives to the ruling party’s RECs, “cannot be left to one person”.
He stressed that the correct electoral procedures, as per the NUNW Constitution, should be followed.
In a heavily-worded letter, addressed to NUNW boss Ismael Kasuto, as well as Mbumba, labour minister Erkki Nghimtina, all NUNW affiliates and MUN members, MUN President, Desley Somseb, said this week that the unionists on the ruling party RECs were not democratically elected.
He said that they had been handpicked, and are positioned to sway the outcome of the upcoming Swapo Congress, in a certain direction.
As an affiliate to the ruling party, NUNW sends 43 delegates to the SWAPO Congress, which is slated for November.
The presence of their representatives at regional level, in the ruling party, can also influence the appointment of other delegates to the Swapo Congress.
Somseb confirmed to Confidente that he had indeed authored the letter, which fingers NUNW Political Liaison Officer, Moses Shiikwa, as the mastermind behind the appointments of unionists, who are now representing workers on the ruling party’s 14 regional structures.
Shiikwa refused to comment on the matter, stressing that he never discusses NUNW issues in the media, and that there are structures in which to do so.
He laughed off talk that he is part of a group that is trying to influence which delegates the NUNW sends to the Swapo Congress, and ultimately the outcome.
In his three-page letter, Somseb informs Kasuto that as a paid-up union, which is in good standing with the umbrella body, MUN should be included in the many discussions taking place at NUNW, as per its constitution.
He added that the appointment of the 28 representatives on the Swapo RECs was done without the consultation of paid-up NUNW affiliates in the regions, and without the democratic election of candidates.
“We demand that all these candidates be recalled, and that a due democratic process be followed, as such well-timed illegal appointments have wider implications,” Somseb wrote.
“The electoral process must be crafted and agreed upon at the relevant NUNW structures.”
Somseb also highlighted the fact that the appointment of NUNW representatives on national committees, such as the Labour Advisory Council, Essential Services Committee, Dispute Resolution Committee and the Employment Service Board, was not sanctioned by the federation’s constitutional bodies – which are the executive committee and the central executive committee.
“We demand that NUNW representatives to these committees be disclosed, recalled and discussed and that the appointments be made at through the NUNW constitutional structures.” Minister Nghimtina said that his is not aware of Somseb’s letter and has never heard of the complaints it outlines.
MUN further noted that other NUNW affiliates, who are not in good standing with the federation, should not be accorded the same rights and privileges as those who keep up their end, by paying affiliation fees.
According to the NUNW prescribed formula, affiliates are expected, on a monthly basis, to contribute 10 percent of the funds collected through membership fees.
This money helps the federation to cover operational obligations, such as paying for employee salaries, annual wage increases, pension and medical aid contributions and other fringe benefits.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015