Naholo on War Path

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK The rift within the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is set to widen as Peter Naholo, who was ousted from his union position says he is not going to accept the expulsion. Friday saw some drama at the NUNW headquarters where Naholo belittled the union leadership, calling them a “bunch of idiots”. Naholo insists his expulsion that took place while he was on leave “grossly” violated the constitutional provisions of the NUNW and maintains the meeting at which his expulsion was decided was a clandestine gathering. The decision to expel Naholo, who at the time of his downfall was the Acting Secretary General of NUNW, was endorsed unanimously last December by NUNW and its affiliates. The expulsion was triggered by a statement in which he accused some NUNW members of having apparently abused the union after they issued a statement in which they exonerated former president Sam Nujoma of any blame with regard to April 01, 1989, when hundreds of PLAN fighters were brutally massacred by occupational South African forces in one bout of blood-letting that nearly derailed the UN peace process. Naholo’s expulsion in December, which was announced by NUNW’s First Vice President AlpheÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼s Muheua followed a collective decision. It seems Naholo and the NUNW are on yet another collision path because despite the fact that Muheua was conservative in his comment, he indicated the union will take all the necessary steps and precautions to bar Naholo from using its facilities. Last Friday, a defiant Naholo said he was not going to accept the expulsion by the NUNW leadership that he labelled a bunch of power-hungry fools and idiots who “have failed to deliver because they have failed to serve the workers’ interests”. “These are chance-takers. They do not have a basic understanding of a union. They want to be the champions of historical events in which they never participated. I have fought wars. If I am to take off my trousers, you will see the scars. I challenge these elements where were they during the dark days when we were carrying arms?” he asked. “These rumours of expulsion are the work of some disgruntled and irresponsible elements who have infiltrated the workers’ movement with a view to bring chaos and weaken the workers’ movement to a point of surrogate to misguided political agendas of hate and division,” he stated, adding, ” I must confirm that there has been a plot to remove me from serving the workers that has been coming for some time. “This is the work of those who do not wish Namibia and its working class well. It is not surprising therefore that a clandestine meeting was hastily organised by these elements calling themselves the Central Executive Committee of NUNW. This clandestine meeting was an illegal one and grossly violated the constitutional provisions of NUNW.” Apart from calling Muheua and the NUNW leadership a “bunch of idiots who do not have leadership qualities,” a stern-looking Naholo further said his rivals were “bandits”. Despite the fact that the decision to expel him was taken collectively, Naholo’s caustic remarks were mainly directed towards Muheua who he said “served under me, receiving orders and advice from me”, when he (Naholo) was the Secretary General of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) from 1993 to 2001. Muheua was also called “a failure” during the highly charged tirade. The former PLAN combatant, whose meeting was briefly halted by the police but continued as he said they were bereft of any court interdict to bar him from NUNW premises, also vowed “nothing will stand in my way” and he would resume duty today. “I am back comrades and I am happy to be back comrades. This is where I belong,” he said amid cheers from dozens of his supporters who flocked to last Friday’s meeting. “To the workers of this country, I say fear of electoral defeat should not be an excuse for anarchy and illegality, which stand to weaken the longstanding cardinal principle of the workers,” he said in reference to the workers’ congress scheduled for later this year. “The attempt to expel me from the union is a cheap and desperate act by some political malcontents and opportunists who on the eve of the workers’ congress later in 2006, have realised the ignominy of a looming defeat as they have failed to deliver….” he claimed. Though Naholo said he would only respect a ruling from the court confirming the legality of his expulsion and his intention to resume duty he warned, “I will not value anything to stand in my way,” when he apparently reports for work this morning at the NUNW premises. Last Friday, when Mu-heua was contacted for comment, he responded: “he can call me whatever he wants to call me. I was not acting out of my own, I have got nothing personal against the guy.” With regard to the constitutionality of Naholo’s expulsion, he said NUNW acted constitutionally. “Absolutely we followed the constitution.” Though Muheua was reserved, he said he would consult his lawyer “to see if I was defamed”. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner in which the police handled the issue, saying they should have arrested Naholo for “trespassing”. “We are not fighting him but if he is trespassing, the law will follow its course.”