NUNW elections very democratic: Kasuto

SWAKOPMUND: The newly-elected president of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Ismael Kasuto described the just-ended three-day NUNW Congress as a success.

In an interview with Nampa immediately after the congress closed on Friday, he indicated that participants discussed issues to meet the workers’ needs, while the main item on the congress’ agenda was to elect new leaders.

Kasuto said the election was very democratic and done in an environment conducive to electing accountable leadership.

“We have established a good foundation in terms of electing capable people to the right portfolios to carry the NUNW forward,” he boasted.

Kasuto beat Lazalus Nangolo by three votes to obtain 134 votes.

He replaces Connie Pandeni, who did not contest the position.

Minister of Labor, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina, who officially opened the congress on Thursday, said unity within NUNW and its affiliates is paramount, urging participants to focus on emerging from the congress with greater unity.

“Contested elections are normal and not to be feared,” the minister said, adding that the outcome of this congress should not produce winners and losers but a united and inclusive leadership of a stronger NUNW.

He also encouraged the union to work with non-NUNW federations and trade unions in a united front to advance workers’ interests in particular sectors where more than one union represents all workers.

The first and second president positions went to Albert Liswaniso and Phillip Munenguni respectively, while Barbara van der Westhuizen maintained her position as treasurer.

Ndeshihafela Maputa is the vice-treasurer.

The congress also elected Job Muniaro as secretary-general (SG).

Muniaro had been acting as SG since Alfred Angula was suspended from the union in 2013 on allegations of fraud.

Angula replaced former NUNW Secretary-General Evilastus Kaaronda, who was expelled in 2012.

Muniaro is deputised by Tame Severeni.