Twist in Naholo Saga

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Peter Naholo’s hopes of being elected as an office bearer in the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) were dashed yesterday after the workers’ umbrella body decided to suspend the acting secretary general. The suspension means that Naholo cannot attend the much-anticipated NUNW congress, as he has been barred from attending any NUNW activities until investigations have been completed. With the congress coming up in less than three weeks it appears that the NUNW will not find time to deal with the matter in time for Naholo to attend the highest decision making assembly of the federation. In ironic style the NUNW first welcomed Naholo with his reinstatement letter. In the letter the NUNW claimed that it “fully embraces the ruling as handed down in the High Court to reinstate Naholo effective from December 14, 2005, and that all payments due to him will be paid in accordance with the law”. A few seconds later the NUNW gave him the second letter which stated that “in accordance with the NUNW constitution section 9.16 and all other relevant Namibian laws, Naholo will be suspended from his position as Acting Secretary General of the NUNW”. Naholo is on full pay suspension while investigations and a fair hearing are pending. Although the NUNW leadership will be expected to provide Naholo with a list of charges as soon as possible, the attention of the NUNW leadership is likely to shift to the planning of the upcoming congress and away from the Naholo saga that has been haunting them for the last three months. If the congress comes sooner than the disciplinary hearing, however, the NUNW will miss the opportunity to put Naholo on trial as his contract and those of other office bearers of the NUNW come to an end as soon as the congress gets underway. The resolution to suspend Naholo was taken at a special Central Committee meeting that took place on Friday evening. The same meeting also resolved to appeal the High Court decision that instructed the NUNW First Vice President Alpheus Muheua to pay the legal fees of the applicant and the respondent out of his own pocket. The meeting resolved that the NUNW would fully cover all legal expenses in accordance with section 17 of its constitution dealing with the indemnification of officials, office bearers and committee members. The meeting also resolved that Muheua be the official spokesperson on all issues relating to the NUNW case against Naholo because of the “heavy conflict of interest” the NUNW president Risto Kapenda has in the matter. Naholo’s lawyer Unanisa Hengari confirmed that his client has received the “invalid letter of suspension” and they are in the process of working out a response. “We are busy drafting the letter and will serve it to Muheua by tomorrow (today).” The Windhoek-based lawyer added that he would also deliver the written judgement of acting Judge Reinhold TÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶temeyer to Muheua to acquaint himself better with the ruling of the court. Hengari said it is now clear that the matter is becoming more political than anything else. “Why do they fear my client so much? Any person can see that the matter has do to with the upcoming congress. ” Hengari also told New Era that he will forward the legal bill to Muheua’s lawyers and he will demand settlement in three days.