New Nantu Chief Wants Unity

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Rundu Ndapewa Nghipandulwa and Meriam Hamutenya failed to retain their seats as president and secretary-general respectively in the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) after they lost the elections at the congress, which ended in the early hours of yesterday. The two, who were at the helm of the teachers’ union for the last three years, were comfortably beaten by Simon Kadhila who emerged as the new president and Basilius Haingura as the secretary-general. Despite the huge tension that characterized the build-up and the proceedings at the 8th National Congress of Nantu, the results were not close at all. For the Nantu presidency, Kadhila scored a massive 193 votes while Nghipandulwa drew 119 votes. In the secretary-general post, Haingura took over from his former senior Hamutenya by gaining 201 votes over Hamutenya’s 111. In fact, Haingura was the only former executive member of Nantu who managed to get re-elected , while Josef Pieters was voted in as the vice-president. David Mulunga Quito was elected as the new deputy secretary-general to replace Haingura while surprise candidate Setson Kavari took over the position of national treasurer. The position of secretary for sports and culture was won by Gerson Karibasen Uiseb, while Cindy Buluwa was elected as the gender coordinator. The elections marked the end of the three-day congress, which was attended by over 355 delegates from all the 13 regions. During his acceptance speech the newly elected president of Nantu, Kadhila, vowed to implement the resolutions that were taken at the congress. He said that Nantu as a union faces some serious problems such as disunity and unhealthy relationships with its sister unions and especially the federation. “Some of the priorities of this executive will be to foster unity with a purpose and better working relations with NUNW.” Kadhila noted that his executive would also be looking at empowering grassroot members of the union and to generally improve membership benefits. The newly elected president said that the HIV/Aids epidemic is a serious problem which needs to be addressed. He urged the executive members to continuously consult in order to avoid accusations. Kadhila in his first speech as president also thanked his predecessor Nghipandulwa for turning the union into a financially viable institution. “I would like to thank the former president for improving the financial position of this union.” Kadhila during his speech continuously emphasized the issue of unity and said that people should work together and not promote division through ethnicity. The remarks from Kadhila appear to be the first step towards bridging the gap between Nantu and the NUNW. Nantu, the third biggest union in the country, has been at loggerheads with the umbrella body. The former Nantu president had strongly criticized the NUNW especially following the 4th National NUNW Congress. The congress was held at the Rundu College of Education under the theme: “Quality Education and Training for Economic Emancipation and Sustainable Development”. The sub-theme was “United Teachers Shaping Future through Vision 2030”. The Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba officially opened the Congress.