WINDHOEK: The dismissed Secretary-General (SG) of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) says his dismissal from the union will only be formal once he receives a letter from its Central Executive Committee.
NUNW SG Evalistus Kaaronda was reportedly fired and the union’s president, Elias Manga suspended during an emergency meeting held in the capital on Tuesday.
“I was not issued with a formal letter that states that I am dismissed. Until I am served with such a letter, I will not be in a position to talk about the way forward,” Kaaronda told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Wednesday.
The two NUNW leaders were suspended and dismissed without any disciplinary hearing and they can only appeal the executive committee’s decision at the NUNW’s next congress, which is scheduled for 2015.
A media statement which was read by CEC member Thomas Gideon at yesterday’s media briefing stated that the union’s decision to dismiss Kaaronda was based on “gross non-compliance with regard to his duties and responsibilities”.
“Gross failure by the president to ensure effective supervision over the SG and the entire NUNW federation is amongst the reasons that led to the suspension of Manga,” Gideon noted.
Manga also told this news agency on Wednesday that he, too, did not receive a formal letter from the CEC about his suspension, but made it clear that he was going to appeal the committee’s decision as soon as he receives such formal correspondence.
“I will not wait until the union’s next congress to appeal. A suspension should be a shorter period than what they are anticipating. I will not allow that. The decision by the CEC gives me the impression that the purpose of their meeting was premeditated,” he fumed.
Manga said he was totally caught off guard by the suspension as he was under the impression that Tuesday’s emergency meeting was called to find a solution to the strikes currently being carried out by teachers in number of regions.
He said he was informed by the CEC on Sunday that an emergency meeting has to be called, but he was not told what would be on the agenda of the meeting.
“I was interested at looking at how we as the NUNW and affiliated unions could resolve the issue at hand, which is that of the teachers, and did not think that the agenda would be about the suspension and dismissal. I thus called for the emergency meeting to take place on the 30th (Tuesday),” Manga said.
He also agreed that Kaaronda’s conduct on some occasions, including his addressing the striking teachers on Monday, did not promote “common understanding”. He however stated that he had reprimanded the SG several times, but said he does not need to do so in public as expected of him.
“These continuous fights within the union are conflicts caused by issues of the past which were not addressed then. Some people in the leadership structure of the union have still not forgotten old wounds. I am being suspended without a hearing being conducted. Does that not raise any suspicion?” Manga asked.
He also wanted to know whether supervising the SG should not be a collective effort of all unions involved, instead of it being his duty alone.
“It is their perception that I did not do enough to control the conduct of the SG, but to what extent did some of the union leaders assist? I have taken note of my suspension but I am waiting for something in writing in order to carry out my appeal,” he said.