THE celebration of Workers day in Windhoek and Walvis Bay, the two of the main employment centres of Namibia, seemingly collapsed under the weight of internal division when tensions between junior officials of the ruling SWAPO Party and its affiliated federation of labour unions came to a boil.
In Walvis Bay the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) secretary general, Peter Nevonga, lifted the lid on the pot that is threatening to boil over and said the deliberate boycott of the Workers Day celebrations by junior government officials is a clear indication of cheap politicking in an election year. The inference of renewed tension between Team Swapo and Team Harambee was never far from being was clear.
Nevonga specifically accused Hafeni Ndemula, Erongo regional council chairman and Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfried of becoming the victims of cheap politics. Both were invited to deliver speeches at the Walvis Bay event.
Nevonga accused Ndemula of spreading rumours that the Workers Day event in Walvis Bay was aimed at dividing the workers of Namibia because the main event was held at the Katutura Youth Complex in Windhoek where President Hage Geingob was invited to deliver the keynote address.
“The NUNW does not need the permission of politicians as to where we have events and who will address the workers at such events. We support all workers,” Nevonga said.
Tension between the ruling party and its affiliated labour unions under the auspices of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) started last year when the labour federation withdrew their support of the National Clean-Up Day at the eleventh hour.
NUNW president, Albert Liswaniso, did not share Nevonga’s sentiments and said the Workers Day celebrations in Windhoek were well attended.
“Senior and former government officials attended the event in their capacity as workers and embraced the activities as workers,” he said.
In Windhoek the Secretary General of the SWAPO Party, Sophia Shaningwa, delivered the keynote address on behalf of the President of Namibia, Dr.Hage Geingob while in Walvis Bay the Bro. Matthew Shinguadja, Executive Director of the Ministery of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation read the keynote address on behalf of Deputy Minister Tommy Nambau.