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Napwu congress - workers are to blame
Today, delegates at the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) elective congress are expected to vote in the leaders who will head their union for the next five or so years.
Those that will be elected will be tasked with the daunting obligation of primarily challenging the exploitation of workers, amongst a long list of responsibilities.
Information reaching us from Rundu suggests that the incumbent leaders of the union are likely to retain their positions as most of them are unopposed.
Among those that are likely to romp to an easy victory is Petrus Nevonga, the union’s general secretary.
Nevonga is a shrewd character who has mastered the art of retaining power and influence. With power and influence, he pulls strings from his comfort zones and the workers have danced to his tune just as he wants them to.
The past term of Nevonga as general secretary has been, for the lack of a perfectly descriptive word, chaotic.
It is no wonder workers and indeed some lower structures of Napwu have called for his resignation or forced removal from the union.
In April 2011, Napwu was forced by Prime Minister Nahas Angula to recall him from the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), where he was sent to represent the interests of public servants whose pensions are handled by the Fund.
If Nevonga had truly represented the workers’ interest on the GIPF board of trustees to the letter, we doubt he would have been recalled. So the decision to recall him speaks volumes about his performance at the Fund, particularly on the issue of representing workers’ interest.
He served on the board of several of the companies that received loans through the now defunct Development Capital Portfolio (DCP) and failed to pay back the workers’ money.
Workers at the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) claimed Napwu, under Nevonga’s leadership, sided with the management of the parastatal during the recent massive retrenchment exercise.
The same feelings are shared by workers at the Road Contractor Company (RCC) and the State nurses, amongst others.
It is not our business to dictate to workers who they should elect in today’s elections. Workers failed to nominate alternative candidates to take on Nevonga and that too was their right.
But whether Nevonga will change and become a man who speaks for the workers remains a mystery for now.
We hope he does, and if not, workers must blame themselves for re-electing the man they blamed for many of their current woes.