We might be left out of congress - Kasuto

Controversially “deposed” president of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) Ismael Kasuto has exclusively told The Villager that the federation risks the possibility of being left out of the upcoming elective congress if it fails to put its house in order. 

“Should things go on the way they are going now one can conclude that we might be left behind because of our own decisions, but we are trying to clarify the matter,” said Kasuto.

He said he would be convening an emergency meeting very soon and then clarifies that before the party congress.

The unions continue to tear each other over non-payment of the expected 10%, and Kasuto revelled for the first time to The Villager that they owe the federation millions of dollars.

“If you look at NPWU the rough estimate which they have made in 2014 and 2015 is between the ranges of N$19 million to N$25 million, so they were supposed to give 10% of that amount to the federation. 

"If you look at what they have been paying to the federation in the last half during that particular year, it’s between N$600 000 to N$700 000,” he said.

Although NANTU secretary general Basilius Haingura said his union had not omitted its payments on a month to month basis in an article by The Villager dated 8 September 2017, Kasuto said the federation’s treasurer general has been cooking up the financial report.

“It was not factual, meaning that(in) the last CEC report, she did not mention that NAPWU and NANTU have not been paying subscription fees. We are also aware that she is a NAPWU member and she is always going to protect the interests of NAPWU,” he said.

Kasuto added that the treasurer had done nothing to request for complete financial information from the affiliates to at least take them on and arm-twist them into obliging to the demand for payment.

Resultantly, the federation’s operations have been affected negatively, he said. 

“We have been living on an overdraft from month to month. If we look at last year we had to request advance payments from our business arms for us to cover operational costs,” he said. 

However, when The Villager contacted NANTU secretary general Basilius Haingura to answer to the allegations of cooked up financial statements and the persistent claims of non-payment on the part of his union, he dismissed Kasuto.

“The issue of good standing, as I am saying NANTU never omitted any month without paying their affiliation fees of the federation. 

"Furthermore, if he is accusing his treasurer that they are cooking information, he was the president of the federation, he could have access to the documents,” Haingura fought back.  

 Pressed on how the situation currently is within the Federation following his expulsion as president which has not been recognised by the Swapo Party as well as himself, Kasuto was more relaxed, saying that all was well.

He has shied away from admitting that there is infighting within the federation instead using diplomatic language which displayed a peaceful picture of the rocked unions.

“We are looking at trying to reposition ourselves and align our structures. We are still as we were a year back but the rest we will deal with it as time goes by,” he said.

He said the tensions that have flared up so far in this politically charged environment have not been because the unions have entered congress season.

“If you look at when it started, it started in 2016 February when the NUNW submitted their concerns to the government of the federation. 

"Particularly the attendance of the federation meetings by affiliates not in good standing. The constitutionality of the meeting was questioned meaning that those who attended the meeting were not supposed to attend,” Kasuto said.

He said the attendance of the meeting by those unions was in breach of their Constitution regarding Article 9 .1 .1. (4).

In a document seen by The Villager in which Kasuto describes the nature of his expulsion, the affiliation fees impasse and exclusion from the Swapo Party, Kasuto vehemently labels his removal as illegal and null and void.

While the media has cast the picture of a man fallen from the grace of the federation, Kasuto exclusively told The Villager that he was still the man in charge.