By Kuvee Kangueehi Gobabis Abel Kazondunge was elected as the new president of the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) on Sunday night at Gobabis. The former national treasurer was elected at the union’s 8th National Congress and will be deputized by Elias Jonker, who was strongly tipped for the presidency but only managed to retain his seat of vice-president. Kiros Sackarias, who has been the acting secretary general for the last two years, was elected as the secretary general proper at the congress and will lead the second biggest workers’ union for the next four years. Sackarias, who was clearly the delegates’ favourite, won the seat comfortably as the only single nomination. Sackarias will be deputized by Joseph Shikongo while Florence Rukata was elected as the new national treasurer. Lempy Ashipala completes the list of the national office-bearers as the deputy treasurer. The Nafau congress was generally less tense and peaceful and there were no incidents such as those which characterized the NUNW and Nantu congresses earlier this year. In fact, the elections of the office-bearers did not go the ballot as either there was only one nomination, or second nominations did not have support. Outgoing president of Nafau, David Namalenga, shortly after handing over the reins said the union still faces a number of challenges but that the new leadership should build on the foundation that has been laid down already. He said the prime task was to ensure unity of workers, improvement of wages, good conditions of employment, sound working relations and job security. He noted that he was leaving the union in a good shape and that the new head office and repositioning of the Nafau Investment Holding Company – the business arm of the union – was a testimony to this. “The Nafau business arm has sponsored this congress with an amount of N$150 000 and sponsored the construction of the Nafau head office with N$95 000.” The outgoing president also urged the new leadership to work hard towards worker unity. “The workers must unite, it is only then that workers’ rights and power can be recognized.” Namalenga further noted the new leaders at local, regional and national level must work together and ensure that any effort that is aimed at creating anarchy and disorder in the country is blocked and condemned. The situation in the Caprivi Region is still worrisome and as such the workers must watch out for all acts of separation and expose the initiators before it becomes a costly exercise. The congress ended in the early hours of Monday morning.
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