Nantu takes on NUNW

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Allegations of procedural flaws in the just ended National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) congress have taken a different twist, with a decision by one of its affiliates to suspend payment of its membership dues to the federation. The Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) informed the mother body it would not pay its affiliation fees until further notice. In a letter to Secretary General of the NUNW Evilastus Kaaronda, Nantu stated that as a legitimate affiliate to the umbrella body, they are very disappointed that the NUNW Constitution was grossly violated and not adhered to when the credentials of each affiliate were not scrutinised to determine who qualified legally to attend the recent NUNW congress. Secretary General of Nantu Miriam Hamutenya, who signed the letter noted that the NUNW Constitution subsection 6.10 clearly stipulates that “affiliated unions, which are more than three months in arrears with affiliation fees, shall be deemed to be out of financial standing and shall not have the right to be represented at any conference of the NUNW or take part in any ballot”. According to her, Nantu was disappointed that affiliates not in good standing as per NUNW Constitution were represented and took part in all congress proceedings and when affiliates in good standing tried to question this, they were ignored. “This scenario clearly shows that NUNW does not respect its own constitution,” Hamutenya writes. The aggrieved union also attached analysis from the Consolidated Annual Financial Statement for 2002-2005 as presented to the congress. The attachment indicates that Nantu and the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) are the only two affiliates not in arrears. Namibia Financial Institutions Union (NAFINU) and MANWU, according the attachment are the biggest culprits in terms of arrears, with 37 and 41 months respectively. The biggest affiliate of the NUNW, Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), which had the biggest influence on the outcome of the congress, was also in arrears with six months. Because of this, the teachers’ union has decided to suspend payment of its affiliation fees to NUNW until further notice, since payment of monthly dues does not alter in any way the status of an affiliate. However, the Deputy Secretary General of Nantu Baslius Haingura stated that he was not aware of the decision. He claimed that this was the personal position of Hamutenya. “As an office bearer, you have no right to take such a big decision without consulting the different structures.” Haingura added that Nantu had earlier agreed that the different structures must come together to discuss the NUNW issue but Hamutenya unilaterally called off the meeting and gave no reason. He alleged that some leaders are in the habit of not consulting in order to arrive at a collective decision, suggesting that they are guided by political expediency. Haingura concluded that the upcoming congress of Nantu, which is scheduled for end August in Rundu, will address some of the current problems. Nantu is not the first affiliate to express its dissatisfaction with last month’s NUNW Congress. The Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) forwarded a memorandum of protest to the NUNW during the federation’s congress, expressing dissatisfaction with the procedures followed at the gathering. In response, Kaaronda stated that he had not received the letter but the debate on good standing has been on going for some time even before congress. He added that according to the constitution, he was convinced that all affiliates are in good standing. New Era is reliably informed that Nantu would be placing a paid advertisement in newspapers this week to make their position publicly known.