By Kuvee Kangueehi
The rivalry between Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, and the Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Evilastus Kaaronda, resurfaced last week at a meeting set up to discuss the recent strike by lecturers.
At the meeting which was held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Angula accused Kaaronda of instigating workers to go on an illegal strike and that the union leader is trying to gain political mileage. Kaaronda during the heated debate informed the PM that he should not take national issues personally.
This is not the first time that the duo has clashed during a meeting. Last year, Kaaronda made an abrasive attack on Angula when he accused him of being “carefree and extremely insensitive to the plight of the workers”. He was addressing a media conference.
Angula in turn took a swipe at Kaaronda and said the union leader “in his characteristic fashion of a running dog” made wild accusations against him.
A source that attended the latest meeting said the two were at each other’s throats again leaving the NUNW President, Alpheus Muheua, in an uncomfortable position, as he did not know what to do with the two.
The source said Muheua, who called the meeting, is being seen as a ‘double agent’ in some quarters because despite being the President of NUNW, he is also employed by the Government in the office of the Prime Minister and can never take Angula head-on.
The source added that Muheua was generally quiet during the entire meeting and was earlier informed by the lecturers that they are not comfortable with him being part of the union’s caucus and then representing the Government.
Contacted for comment, Angula tried to downplay the row, saying they only had a ‘normal discussion’ with Kaaronda trying his best to represent the workers while he was representing the interests of the Government.
The Premier, however, admitted that the discussion became heated at times and Muheua reminded them to ‘talk to each other as comrades’.
Angula said he did not specifically refer to Kaaronda as instigating workers but was making a general statement that illegal strikes should not be allowed.
“As a trade unionist, Kaaronda was pushing his point strongly and in the end he did the right thing to advise the workers not to continue with the strike.”
The Premier said he was also happy with the outcome of the meeting because they agreed on the way forward and a technical committee was set up to make recommendations to the Government.
He noted that the technical committee is expected to report back to the Government by July 7.
Kaaronda refused to comment on the matter and only remarked that he is there to represent the workers’ interest and nothing is personal in what he does.
The meeting with the Prime Minister was also attended by the Vice President of NUNW, Dawid Namalenga, Nantu Secretary General Bassiluis Haingura, Nantu President Simon Kavila and Deputy Secretary General of Nantu David Quito Mulunga.