Court bars Kasuto from NUNW premises

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-High Court Judge Boas Usiku yesterday interdicted and restrained former NUNW president Ismael Kasuto from conducting himself as the president of the National Union of Namibia Workers (NUNW). The interdict also bars Kasuto from attending any meetings or gatherings in the name of the NUNW.

Kasuto was further interdicted and restrained from using in any manner the NUNW’s letterhead, any electronic or other communication device on behalf of the NUNW.

According to the judge, Kasuto may also not enter the premises of the NUNW without prior written permission from the NUNW and may also not interfere with the activities of NUNW, its employees, agents, partners or office bearers in any manner whatsoever.

Kasuto was further interdicted from acting or purporting to act on behalf of NUNW and was ordered to pay the costs of the NUNW, to include the cost for legal counsel.

Kasuto was elected as president of the NUNW on May 1, 2015 during the national congress of the union for a four-year period, but was promptly removed from office by a resolution of the central executive committee on August 19, 2017 through a two-third majority decision.

However, Kasuto has refused to accept the decision and carried on as if he were still the president of the NUNW. In response, the NUNW lodged an urgent application on September 26 asking the court to interdict Kasuto from acting as the president of the federation.

Kasuto opposed the application on the grounds that the NUNW did not make out a case for urgency and that the union did not have the right to institute proceedings against him, as required by the constitution, as he was still the president of the body.

After receipt of the letter informing him of his removal, Kasuto issued a press release stating that he was still the president of the union and also addressed a letter to the secretary-general of Swapo using the letterhead of the NUNW.

These actions, the union said, encouraged lawlessness in the conduct of the affairs of the union federation and caused irreparable harm to the good name of the union.

Kasuto countered that the meeting to remove him was not properly constituted, and as such was a nullity.
In his analysis of the evidence, Judge Usiku said it was trite knowledge that an applicant only needs to allege in his founding papers that it has been duly authorised to bring an application, and when the challenge to the authority is weak, a minimum of evidence would establish such authority.

“I am satisfied that the round robin resolution furnished by the applicant meets the minimum evidence required and that the respondent’s challenge regarding the round robin resolution is a weak challenge, as I therefore reject it,” Judge Usiku said.

He further said the decision to remove Kasuto has to stand, as Kasuto made no move to challenge the decision, but rather opted to defy it. He further said the decision was legally binding until set aside by a competent court, as it would create chaotic conditions in organisations such as trade unions, church bodies or cultural clubs if it was not the case.

With regard to the urgency of the matter, Judge Usiku said the actions of Kasuto in continuing to act as president of the NUNW in the circumstances were tantamount to acts of self-help or taking the law into own hands.

Such actions were in themselves inherently urgent matters, the judge said, and concluded that he was satisfied that the NUNW had made out a case for a final interdict. Kasuto said he would appeal against the judgment in the Supreme Court.

The NUNW was represented by Advocate Eliaser Nekwaya instructed by Sisa Namandje, and Kasuto by Advocate Gerson Narib instructed by KL !Naruses and Associates.

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