Windhoek-The country’s biggest trade union federation, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), claims that its members are being “purged, intimidated and victimised” following the campaign and outcome of the November 6 Swapo Party elective congress.
The federation, some of whose members supported presidential challengers Jerry Ekandjo and Nahas Angula and their running mates, says it is disturbed and concerned about negative media reports and allegations of political witch-hunt and victimisation against its members.
Cabinet ministers Ekandjo and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana challenged for positions at the congress, contrary to the wishes of President Hage Geingob, who himself vied for and won the Swapo presidency.
President Geingob was reported to have written to the two ministers asking them to explain how they wished to continue serving in his administration, which they called ‘weak’ during congress campaigns.
Geingob also accused his two ministers of violating the Cabinet principle of collective leadership – after they suggested alternatives to the president’s food bank initiative.
The Namibian daily newspaper quoted Ekandjo late last month denying that he had violated any statutes.
Several local authority councillors were also demoted last month, the NUNW alleged.
“They (workers) are being threatened with demotion and dismissal from their positions at work or at some of their elected positions such as local authorities,” alleged the federation secretary general, Job Muniaro.
He said NUNW has observed, with grave concern, that this “unfortunate, negative and undemocratic” development of political “cleansing and purging” has already started playing itself at local authorities and is quickly spreading like “cancer” across the entire government.
“Political witch-hunting and purging deserve to be condemned in the strongest terms with all contempt it deserves, as it undermines social coherence, national unity, peace and stability in a democracy such as ours in Namibia,” said Muniaro.
He said NUNW welcomed and appreciated the conciliatory and comradeship tone and spirit of which the 6th Swapo party elective congress was concluded.
According to Muniaro, the federation believes perpetual factional political infighting in the Swapo Party is not healthy for the economic development of the country, particularly where such “witch-hunt” is against workers who are the engines of development.
“Unending factional infighting in our political party consumes a lot of energy, scarce economic resources and time, which are supposed to be invested or channelled towards the development of our country’s economy for the benefit of the workers and the Namibian nation at large,” he added.
He said the coalition hopes that Swapo would walk strong into the future without being undermined and compromised by political witch-hunting and purging of some of her members for having exercised their rights and obligations of inner party participatory democracy.
“We hope everything is politically well and will remain inclusively well in our Swapo Party. The Swapo Party 6th elective congress was concluded and closed on a positive note of ‘Omake’ clapping hands and singing ‘Let us unite, let us unite in the name of Namibia,” he said.