Another Crack in NUNW Leadership?

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Division within the leadership of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) came to the fore yesterday when NUNW president Risto Kapenda refused to publicly re-affirm the decision of December 14, 2005 of a special Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, which withdrew the mandate given to Peter Naholo as the Acting Secretary General of the NUNW. Kapenda, who was reading a media statement on resolutions taken by the 22nd Central Executive Committee meeting which took place last weekend, decided not to read the specific resolution. The surprise Kapenda jab left his first vice president Alpheus Muheua and the acting secretary general Evilastus Kaaronda with egg on their faces, leading Muheua to intervene. Muheua read the resolution concerning Naholo, including a warning that states: “Anybody who says anything to the contrary, claiming to be saying it on behalf of the NUNW would be guilty of serious misconduct and would be dealt with in accordance with the NUNW and the Namibian laws.” It now remains to be seen whether or not the NUNW will take any steps against its president after he publicly refused to read the resolution of the CEC. Despite signing the media statement, Kapenda claimed that the case of Naholo was before the court and thus he could not comment on the matter. “The Prosecutor General has earlier noted that to comment on a case that is before the court can be viewed as contempt of court, so rather not risk that.” The refusal by Kapenda to read the statement reinforced the president’s reluctance to agree with the dismissal Naholo last year. The NUNW president instead avoided to state his position on the issue of Naholo and made an attack on some of the NUNW leaders. He claimed that he did not buy faces in order to get somewhere and was not materialistic. In comments that appeared to be directed at Muheua, Kapenda noted that he acts when action needs to be taken and has respect for other people’s opinions. “I cannot be victimized or be intimidated and I do not jump even when lightning strikes. I did the real job when we had the real enemy, namely the South African regime.” The NUNW president noted that the work force is united and only the leadership is divided. On other resolutions taken at the CEC meeting, Kapenda announced that the 4th Ordinary Congress of the NUNW will take place from April 28 to 30, 2006 at the Windhoek College of Education and will officially be opened by President Hifikepunye Pohamba. Kapenda also commented on the budget and stated that the NUNW found the National Budget as pro-poor and pro-growth, considering its expenditure outline. “The increase in pension payouts, payments or grants to orphans, the increase in the allocation to the education sector, health, infrastructure and public administration,” he justified as pro-poor and pro-development. The NUNW also resolved that government must seriously seek dialogue with the management of Ramatex in the shortest possible time to try to resolve the ongoing bad labour relations at the company. “We further urge government to include the NUNW and NAFAU in all negotiations with this company’s management,” he said.