NUNW Electoral College Failure ‘Worrisome’ – Federation Says It Harbours No Hard Feelings

The ruling Swapo Party might experience difficulties in canvassing support among the country’s working class following a disappointing performance of the National Union of Namibian Workers’ (NUNW) candidates at the recently held Swapo electoral college.

None of the five candidates – Hilma Uushona, Julia Endjambi, Lazerus Nangolo, Jessy Nombanza and Laurencia Stephanus – appears on the party’s list of 96 parliamentary candidates. The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) General Secretary Peter Nevonga withdrew from contesting a place at the electoral college.

The NUNW is affiliated to Swapo and the federation – the country’s biggest – is allowed, as part of the affiliation, to submit six candidates to contend for parliamentary seats on a Swapo ticket.

Several current ministers and deputy ministers were NUNW candidates at previous Swapo electoral colleges, where they emerged in favourable positions on the list, which enabled them to secure their current government jobs.

But while Swapo remains largely popular among the country’s workers, the dismal performance of NUNW candidates could prevent the ruling party from reaping the full fruits of its association with the federation during this year’s elections, analysts say.

Swapo held its electoral college in Windhoek nearly two weeks ago. And just like the NUNW candidates, four cabinet ministers – Dr Richard Kamwi, Rosalia Nghidinwa, Uahekua Herunga and Dr Albert Kawana – also did not make the list of 96.

“This [poor performance by unionists] is very dangerous because it will not augur well amongst the workers to learn that none of their candidates made it onto the list. They expect their candidates to make it into the National Assembly so that they can have someone whom they can relate to and who is aware of their demands and interests,” said Andrew Niikondo of the Polytechnic of Namibia.

Key interest groups, the workers and the business community, should be well represented in parliament for the sake of inclusivity, Niikondo said.

NUNW’s Acting Secretary General Job Muniaro accepted the outcome of the electoral college, adding that all candidates attended to make it onto the list.

Muniaro said NUNW has no hard feelings over the fact that none of its candidates made it.

“We sent our candidates to the ‘pot’ not to be elected automatically but to compete in the democratic process,” he said.

“Although our candidates did not make it, we are happy because those who made it did so on our behalf because they will be serving the entire party, unions included.”

According to Muniaro : “People like [fisheries minister] Bernard Esau and [deputy labour minister] Alpheus Muheua who went to the National Assembly through the NUNW are still our candidates and therefore we voted for them.”

“Our candidates and delegates contributed by electing other candidates onto the list,” he said.

With NUNW having endorsed the party’s presidential candidate, Dr Hage Geingob, as its preferred candidate during the upcoming presidential election, Muniaro urged the country’s workers to ensure that they register during the ongoing supplementary voter registration.

“We endorsed the party’s candidate during the May Day celebration, therefore we should register so that we can vote for our candidate,” he said.

Muniaro told the country’s workers that “we cannot declare him as our candidate and not vote for him”.

Source : New Era