Last-ditch effort to disrupt Swapo congress thwarted

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-An eleventh hour bid by the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) to have the Windhoek High Court prevent the 17 nominees of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) from attending and participating in the Swapo elective congress, was nipped in the bud by Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula yesterday afternoon.
MUN wanted the court to interdict and restrain the 17 NUNW delegates from attending the congress, which kicked off yesterday in Windhoek and will elect new party leaders this weekend.

MUN also asked the court to set aside a meeting of the NUNW central executive committee that elected the 17 nominees held on August 1, and to declare all decisions taken at the meeting null and void.

The nominees include Anna Shiweda, Jacob Nghifindaka, Loide Shaanika, Job Muniaro, Sarafina Kandere, Elijah Ngurare, Hilma Ushona, John Uushona, Lovisa Likali, Evan Mashahu, Julia Endjambi, Jessy Nombanza, Estaer Nghipondoka, Jacob Penda, Justina Jonas, Joseph Dinyando and Petrus Nevonga.

Also part of the respondents were NUNW, Namibia Public Workers Union, Namibia Transport and Allied Union, Namibia Domestic and Allied Workers Union, Namibia Financial Institutions Union, Namibia Teachers Union, Namibia Farm Workers Union, Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union, Metal and Allied Workers Union, Namibia Music Industry Union and Swapo Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba.

According to an affidavit by Desley Somseb, the acting MUN president, the meeting was unconstitutional as it was not requested by the CEC and there was non-compliance with the constitution.
The judge only heard the arguments on the urgency of the matter.

Advocate Werner Boesak, who appeared on behalf of MUN on instructions from law firm Murorua Kurtz Kasper Inc., argued the matter was urgent because they made various efforts since the August 19 meeting to solve the impasse, but nothing came of their efforts, which caused them to launch the urgent application.

According to him they did not delay the matter on purpose to ambush the respondents.
He said that after the August 19 meeting, court proceedings were instituted regarding the leadership of NUNW and the court only pronounced itself on October 26, and they had to await the outcome of those proceedings as it had a direct impact on the affairs of NUNW. Equally so, he said, was the fact that the Swapo SG informed the parties he was “seized” with the matter and invited all parties to a meeting on November 3.

However, Khadila Amoomo, who appeared on behalf of Muniaro, Ngurare, Nevonga, NUNW and Napwu, said the urgency was self-created.

According to him, MUN had from August 3, when the invitations to the August 19 meeting were sent out, to make their move. According to him, they failed to get their affairs in order and are now asking the court to do it for them.
In any event, Amoomo said, they are at the wrong forum as the matter is inherently a labour issue and the High Court has no jurisdiction to try it.

Stephan Vlieghe, who appeared for Nantu, echoed Amoomo’s sentiments, and asked the court to dismiss the matter with costs for lack of urgency. He too mentioned the time frame and said that the grounds forwarded for urgency were not strong enough to warrant the inconvenience.

Henry Shimutwikeni, on behalf of Shaanika and Dinyando, told the court the time frame of the applicants (MUN) are highly unreasonable and the urgency was self-created. He too asked the court to dismiss the application with costs.
Judge Angula agreed with the legal representatives of the respondents and dismissed the matter with costs.

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