SUN aims to ‘eliminate NANSO’

By Paulina Ndalikokule

THE NEWLY established Student Union of Namibia (SUN) is determined to push the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) out of existence in all institutions of higher learning in the country, following its dominance in Student Representative Council (SRC) elections held recently.

Speaking to Confidente last week SUN president Simon Amunime said they aim to be the only genuine and independent representative movement of all students in Namibia and Namibian students abroad.

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He announced that the movement won all SRC seats at many Unam campuses, including at Ogongo Campus, Neudamm Campus, Khomasdal Campus and Dr. Sam Nujoma campus.

At Unam’s main campus in Windhoek the movement also dominated the elections, scooping eight seats and losing their three seats to independent candidates, while NANSO gained no seat. “Looking at the outcome of the results of the concluded campuses so far, SUN’s dominance is eminent and we’ll push NANSO out of existence in all institutions of higher learning,” Amunime stressed.

He said SUN’S establishment came in response to the difficulties and suffering experienced by a majority of students in Namibia on the allegation that NANSO’s leadership was “captured by Swapo”.

Tension in NANSO began when its president Ester Simon was elected to the High Panel on the Economy by President Hage Geingob earlier this year. Some members subsequently claimed that she became more of a political representative than a student leader after that appointment.

Amunime was among the four members to resign from NANSO last month along with Bernhard Kavau, who served as vice president, Tyson Hihanguapo as spokesperson and Epaphras Ngolo as the Khomas regional secretary. The four were also suspended earlier this year on charges of insubordination and bringing the organization’s name into disrepute with pending disciplinary hearings.

“NANSO is captured by politicians and continues to please old people that are in power in exchange for its top leaders to be rewarded with tenders, fishing rights, farms and jobs as administrative clerks and assistants to ministers and State House,” Amunime alleged.

The SUN student movement started as a brainchild of student leaders at different tertiary institutions in Namibia, Amunime explained. The movement will also fight for a free decolonised and decentralised education system and to champion, defend and advocate for the rights, interests and aspirations of students and young people.

“We will also rally students and young people behind the vision of free quality education and economic freedom in our lifetime and to advocate for the renaming of public institutions or places after our Namibian heroes and heroines,” the president added.

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He added that SUN would not affiliate to any political party but rather be a vigorous student vanguard union leading the masses in the fight against elitism and corruption.

“SUN will fight for adequate school infrastructure, emphasise building of classrooms, laboratories and [provision of] equipment, education infrastructure and will advocate for a compulsory implementation of ICT curriculum in all schools by fighting for the establishment of computer labs in every school.

“There is strong evidence that high-quality infrastructure facilitates better instruction, improves student outcomes, and reduces dropout rates, among other benefits. We will fight for rural electrification of all schools in all 14 regions,” he added.

NANSO president Ester Simon could not be reached for comment while NANSO national secretary for education, training and research Efraim Ndalipo Paulus referred our questions to secretary general Simon Taapopi, who preferred not to respond.