VOTING FREEDOM: NUNW secretary-general Job Muniaro says the union’s delegates can vote for whoever their heart desires. PHOTO: File
VOTING FREEDOM: NUNW secretary-general Job Muniaro says the union’s delegates can vote for whoever their heart desires. PHOTO: File

NUNW delegates given voting carte blanche

Mathias Haufiku
Swapo Party’s affiliate trade union, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), says its 16 delegates can vote for any candidate of their choice at this weekend’s watershed congress, with its only hope being that the process churns out credible leaders.

NUNW warned that if delegates do not choose credible leaders to head the party for the next five years, Swapo will struggle to restore the broad-based support it once enjoyed.

With close to 700 delegates currently converging in the capital for the party’s seventh ordinary congress, the union is hopeful that delegates won’t solely be fixated on the elections for the top four officials at the expense of discussions on fundamental party affairs.

Analysts have in recent months cautioned that the ruling party could fall into the political grave if it does not rework its political programme to fit into the prevailing dispensation, one which has seen opposition parties gaining ground in all urban centres.

NUNW secretary-general Job Muniaro said “it is our hope that the congress will see a credible candidate get the nod to lead Swapo's race for the position of president in the 2024 elections”.

The union, which represents close to 90 000 workers across all sectors, said it does not have a specific candidate it is supporting in the hotly contested vice-presidency race, which will see party functionaries Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Pohamba Shifeta battle it out.

"We are a democratic organisation. We have not compelled anyone who is a delegate to congress to choose whom they vote for," Muniaro said.

‘There is no leader’

Despite NUNW delegates being given a blank card to vote for leaders of their choice instead of voting as a bloc, he urged them to be politically tolerant.

"It is an internal leadership election. All guarantees are that the outcome of the congress lies with us. We don't want to go back with a divided union. We must be politically tolerant.

“There is no loser. The person who will win will be our leader. The peace of the party guarantees the peace of the country. Once we don't stand together, our common purpose will be defeated," he said.

"This time around, my expectations are very high. We have to take into consideration the country's economic situation. I am hoping Swapo will elect leaders who will be able to bring back voters. We need strong leaders for public trust - both locally and internationally," Muniaro said.

The party’s credibility has faced unending storms since the advent of the Fishrot scandal in 2019, with political antagonists using it to discredit the liberation movement.

It also led to the party losing its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly during the last general elections.

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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