NUNW angered by Swapo pot exclusion

By Jade McClune

THE National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is not happy

with the outcome of voting at the Swapo Party’s recent electoral college, saying the party’s list of candidates for parliament is skewed and does not adequately represent the wings, affiliates and structures of the organisation, and could thus hamper the effectiveness of its election campaign.

In an exclusive interview with Confidente this week, NUNW vice president Phillip Munenguni, who had been one of the nominees from the union affiliates of the party, spoke about the results and how it will affect relations be- tween workers and the party.

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He said the NUNW was content that the process was fair and that no region was left out, and that there was not as much negativity surround- ing the process as in 2017, al- though they observed some delays in completing the renewal of mandates and elect- ing regional nominees. He was also worried about youth and worker representation in the next parliament.

“It was disappointing that no NUNW leaders made it onto the list of parliamentary candidates, only one union leader came in at 91st place.” Munenguni said workers are keen to have a candidate in parliament, given the many problems they face in the economic down- turn, due to austerity measures and a number of pressing issues, such as the impact of privatisation and the mooted sale of state-owned enterprises.

He said although the union movement considered the inner party election to have been “free and fair”, it was worrying that Youth League candidates did not make it high enough up on the list to be in contention for a seat in parliament.

“Most did not make it. None of the SPYL candidates made it to number 70 on the list,” he noted, adding that the party needs to change its policy and formula of choosing candidates to more adequately reflect its membership base.

He said the youth are the majority in the country but are under-represented, even the Swapo think-tank does not have regional representation or a union representative.

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“We need to balance the representation of the various wings, youth, elders, women, and the affiliates for the sake of fair representation but also to include more capable and competent people with the necessary skills and leadership qualities.”

Munenguni believes the deeper integration of the youth structures, regional coordinators and union leadership into the top echelons of the party would be “a good strategy” as it would strengthen campaign prospects and coordination ahead of the November polls.

He noted with some con- cern that NUNW candidates, members of the Elders Council and regional coordinators did not make it onto the list of potential candidates (gen- erally assumed to be the first 75).

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He thus urged President Hage Geingob to consider including two “capable youth leaders and two trade union leaders” on his eventual list of eight members of parliament that the President may bring aboard if Swapo wins the November election – as is widely expected.

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“We need to see people who will represent our issues in parliament,” he said, and re- iterated the call to Geingob to make room for youth leaders and union representatives on the party’s list of parliamentary candidates for 2020.

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