Following a letter of protest by an international trade organisation regarding President Hage Geingob’s chosen day of May 1 for a national clean-up campaign, the head of state has considered another date for the planned activity.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents trade unions worldwide, had urged Namibia to cancel the national clean-up planned to take place on Workers Day. “After careful consideration of external pressures bearing on the labour movement with regard to the
choice of that date, the President has decided to reschedule the National Clean-up Campaign to 25 May 2018,” Dr Alfredo Hengari, press secretary in the presidency, said in a statement.
In an interview with New Era yesterday, Asnat Zamuee, secretary general of the Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu), confirmed the clean-up campaign on May Day has been shelved.
In a letter addressed to the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) secretary general Job Muniaro on Tuesday, President Geingob said that after careful consideration of external pressures bearing on the labour movement, he decided to change the date.
Geingob had a meeting with the NUNW leadership on March 1 where both parties had agreed to have the clean-up campaign on May Day.
But ITUC, in a letter written to Geingob, had expressed disappointment in the decision to have workers cleaning on May 1.
ITUC represents over 207 million workers in 163 countries.
The workers’ confederation urged the Namibian government to withdraw the clean-up day proposal and to have May Day celebrations as usual, which are normally dedicated to labour struggles around the world. “May Day celebrations are internationally recognised as the cornerstone of democratic societies and they represent the achievements of generations of working people struggling for their rights.
“Changing the scope of May Day represents an attack against the legitimate activities on trade unions in Namibia and is a blow for the whole trade union movement around the world, and we strongly denounce it,” the letter read. Geingob said the unions, upon receiving advice from the ITUC, acquiesced to the views of ITUC and reneged on the decision for May 1.
“I, on behalf of the government, have now rescheduled the event for May, 25, 2018 – Africa Day. As a means to effectively prepare for this day, I have directed the regional governors, in partnership with local authorities, to coordinate the process nationwide by mobilising communities in their respective regions to clean up our towns, suburbs and villages on the above-mentioned date,” Geingob said.
He maintained that the labour movement played a central role in Namibia’s liberation struggle with the call for freedom and better living conditions for Namibian workers.
Moreover, he stressed the support of workers from the Global South was instrumental in bringing about change.
“And I don’t wish to create the impression that I want to detract attention from the singular significance of May Day in our calendar,” Geingob said.
He directed that the respective senior civil servants, the national events committee and in particular the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, tasked to formulate and disseminate information to the public on arrangements for the day, transmit the message via regional governors and the mass media.
In a bid to reclaim Windhoek’s status as the cleanest city in Africa, President Geingob last October revealed his intentions to set aside a day on which all Namibians would be called upon to roll up their sleeves and engage in a nationwide clean-up of the environment. In so doing, he said, Namibia would not only reclaim the title of cleanest capital in Africa but go a step further to become the cleanest country in Africa.
Namibia lost the prestigious title of being the cleanest city in Africa due to the increasing amount of waste accumulating along its national roads, and in towns and villages. For decades, Namibia had been lauded for having the cleanest capital on the continent.