By Patience Nyangove
A war of words has erupted between National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) President, Ismael Kasuto, and Affirmative Repositioning leader, Job Amupanda, after the land activist accused the unionist and others of turning trade unions into brothels, where “politicians and business people have endless orgasms.”
Amupanda posted on the Affirmative Repositioning Facebook page on 30 April that while in South Africa workers are fully aware of socio-economic policies and fighting neoliberalism, in Namibia their counterparts have been sold out by Kasuto and other trade unionists.
“Our economy has seen linear, jobless growth. At Husab Mine there is a heavy truck which no black person is allowed to drive let alone come close to. The unions under NUNW President Ismael Kasuto, who is salivating for dinner in the Harambee kitchen, has agreed with (the) Chinese that no black person must come close to this heavy truck,” Amupanda wrote in his post.
“For the past years (including this year) the NUNW dinner-salivating Kasuto has been going to International Labour Organisation meetings with no country paper. What a scandal.
“Tomorrow is Workers’ Day (1 May), and it will be used by the Kasuto cabal to negotiate deals with politicians, so that they get to the dinner table. Just watch what will happen,” Amupanda said.
“It will not be about workers and confronting the bourgeoisie. Unions and labour is dead in this country. Unions are 24-hour brothels of politicians and business with endless orgasms.”
In response, Kasuto challenged Amupanda to provide evidence of his alleged betrayal of the country’s workers.
“You went so low, in trying to tarnish and discredit my reputation. Let me school you in trade unionism; one can never sign an agreement in your individual capacity. As leaders, we are representing institutions as a collective structure.
“Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the workers, thinking that you can fool them by linking Kasuto with dubious agreements with Husab or any other mine/sector or an agreement with politicians you referred to,” Kasuto said in a message to Amupanda, which the AR leader later posted on Facebook.
“As president of NUNW or former MUN (Mineworkers Union of Namibia) president, I have never signed any agreement with any company or politicians, without a mandate from the workers, or in the absence of their branch leadership. Furthermore, as NUNW president, I cannot prescribe to the branch leadership what to agree on, as they remain liberal i.e. the branches decide their fate independently and democratically,” Kasuto continued.
“I dare you to present to the nation the agreement with Husab, which gave preference to white workers over black workers, signed by MUN/NUNW, Kasuto or with the politicians?
“As trade unionists, we shall continue to represent the interests of the workers to its core. As Swapo members, we shall continue to defend the legitimate ideals of the party and the Namibian nation,” Kasuto added.
Amupanda insisted on Tuesday that Kasuto and fellow trade union leaders had sold out the struggle of the workers, as they have allegedly been “captured” by politicians.
“It’s no longer about workers; these guys have been co-opted by politicians. Unions are now useless on worker issues. If you look at his response, it was as if all Namibian workers belong to the Swapo Party.
“Kasuto and others have failed to fight for workers’ rights. If you look at the case of Skorpion Zinc, those young people had to fight alone, while these leaders are just worried about a meal at the Harambee table.”
Kasuto said later on Tuesday that Amupanda’s comments were meant to tarnish his image. “He claims to be an academic, and hence I expected him to provide written proof of his accusations, and fairly argue his case. He is not in our structures, and he doesn’t represent anyone,” Kasuto said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015