National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) president Ismael Kasuto is clinging to the federation’s leadership after a majority of affiliate sister unions had long rejected him as their president.
In a recent development over the weekend, Kasuto held a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting attended by his loyalists where he tersely announced that the decision to institute a case against him at the High Court was null and void.
Kasuto maintained that those who filed the case to have him removed did not constitute a legal representation of the federation and had done so without its blessing.
Speaking exclusively to The Villager soon after the meeting, Kasuto said, “I think we have done a lot regarding communicating the federation’s position. Whoever instituted a case against the NUNW are the officials of the affiliates. The federation CEC never sanctioned that.”
The meeting held this weekend was attended by the mine workers’ union (MUN), NAFINU, NAFU and while a majority of unions want him out, Kasuto said he is not intimidated by the number against him.
“There is a difference between numbers and complying with the constitution. You might have ten affiliates attending all these meetings, but they will only have one that will vote that is complying with the constitution regarding being in good standing, paying their affiliation fees as required,” he said.
The unions represented at this meeting have also resolved that whatever decisions will come out of the High Court will not affect the operations of the union.
Kasuto seems to have the backing of the ruling Swapo Party which had acknowledged him as the legitimate delegate to the congress, and he says he is being a victim of standing by the binding dictates of the federation’s constitution.
Nevertheless, as time runs out on the unions which are supposed to put their house in order or risk being left out in the up and coming make or break elective congress, Kasuto told The Villager that he is contemplating holding an extraordinary meeting to resolve the impasse.
The Villager pressed him on how exactly he thought this congress could remedy the tensions.
“The constitution is clear as to who should attend the congress. If it comes to the point of going to the congress depending on what the CEC will decide obviously we will invite those that should attend the congress. The CEC will outline the procedure for us to come to that point,” he said.
He could not, however, indicate when he intends to do so.
The unions that recently caucused have also distanced themselves from what they alleged to be “attacks against Swapo” after other union members demanded an apology from Swapo Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba who kicked them out of the recently held Central Committee meeting after both factions showed up.
Mbumba said the federation could not be represented by two leaders and could not immediately recognise their decision to elbow out Kasuto made at a meeting which the latter said was de facto.
Kasuto said the media had misrepresented him in their coverage by referring to him as the deposed president of the federation when he was still the man calling the shots.