NANTU to Let Bygones Be …

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK On the eve of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) Central Committee meeting to look into the decision of the Namibia National Teacher’s Union (Nantu) to suspend paying affiliation fees to NUNW, Nantu has made a U-turn. In a press release issued yesterday afternoon, Nantu states that despite its unhappiness, “for the sake of progress, the National Teachers Council (NTC) resolved to resume the payment of the affiliation fees. However, due to financial constraints, and the National Congress approaching, Nantu will only resume the monthly payments after the Congress”. In the media release signed by the its Secretary General, Miriam Hamutenya, it states that “Nantu, as a union of intellectuals and professionals, reaffirmed unanimously that the 4th NUNW National Congress, which was held at the Windhoek College of Education, was characterised by all sorts of bias, favouritism of unions not in good standing, and violation of the NUNW Constitution”. The NTC, at its last meeting on June 10 at Namutoni, resolved that the NUNW should operate in a fair manner and respect the rule of law as well as the principle of natural justice in handling issues related to its affiliates. The teachers union also challenged the umbrella body, as a public institution, to be bold enough to acknowledged that there wrongdoings at the Congress rather than pretending that everything went well. Whereas the public knows the truth of what transpired there. The NTC also claimed that it does not agree with the NUNW public statement that Nantu’s debt was written off. “The financial report as presented to Congress indicates that the last payment was done in 2002 and we are warning the NUNW to refrain from making serious unfounded allegations against Nantu”. Nantu further states that for the sake of national unity and peace of Namibians, the NTC emerged more strongly united and resolved that what happened at the NUNW Congress was behind and to let bygones be bygones. “We decided to move on to continue partaking in the development of our country other then spend time on orchestrated political infighting among the workers of this country.” The biggest teachers union in the country has been going through stormy waters even before the NUNW 4th Congress. The union refused to submit its nomination before the deadline, which was set by the Central Committee of the NUNW and only made its nomination while congress was in session. During the Congress the split within Nantu finally became public after some members decided to leave congress because they were unhappy, while others remained and participated in the proceedings. Nantu’s leadership crisis centred on the suspension of the former acting Secretary General of the NUNW, Peter Naholo. Hamutenya strongly supported Naholo while some Nantu leaders opposed Naholo. With the Nantu Congress coming up at the end of August, tension is mounting about who will be in control of the third largest NUNW affiliate.