Nantu/NUNW At It Again

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Rundu The strained relationship between the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) and the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) appears to be far from over after the president of Nantu, Ndapewa Nghipandulwa, took another swipe at the NUNW leaders. Nghipandulwa claimed that some NUNW leaders have gone out of their way to mislead the Nantu members at some of the regional conferences that Nantu has been desisting herself from the family of NUNW. “They further insult the teachers by referring to them as not real professionals.” Nantu and the umbrella body of the workers have been at loggerheads since the 4th National Congress of the NUNW in April. Nantu, the third largest affiliate of the NUNW, was very unhappy with the proceedings at the NUNW congress and some of its members even staged a walkout. Nantu even went as far as distancing itself from the outcome of the congress and at some point threatened to stop paying affiliation fees to NUNW. Nghipandulwa yesterday said: “We have undergone a visible training that anyone can go through, and we call on those who are living in fear when we pronounce ourselves that they should join us, or else they do not know what they are busy with.” She requested all Nantu members to be vigilant and on alert to stop any attempts at compromising the quality of education and the noble profession in particular. “It is even more dangerous when the campaign is tribalised – in this case you are not being personal to the candidate but vilifying the whole tribe.” She warned that such tactics would result in provoking a huge reaction from other tribes and bring tribal division in the union, which is against the aims and objectives of Nantu. “We do not elect leaders based on their ethnic origin, however their competency should be used to determine whether they can lead or not.” In another word of caution, she stated that some of the colleagues who are talking of coming back to challenge some leadership positions at both regional and national levels are those who almost blew the union into bankruptcy and ran away. “They have heard that there is money and they want to make U-turns, and we must be careful as members not to make mistakes as it will cost us much.” The strong statements by Nghipandulwa in the face of NUNW Secretary General, Evilastus Kaaronda, who was present did not only fuel the bad relations between Nantu and its mother body but also raised tension ahead of the elections. Tension was mounting yesterday as underground campaigns and lobbying reached new heights. Indications are that a number of regions want Nghipandulwa and Miriam Hamutenya removed as president and secretary general respectively, while some are backing the pair to lead the union for another three years. The elections are expected to be held today.

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