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Muheua hailed as principled unionist 

2022-02-17  Paheja Siririka

Muheua hailed as principled unionist 

Former labour deputy minister Alphaus Vehonga Muheua, who passed on yesterday, has been hailed as a committed, humble and principled trade unionist of note who had the best interest of workers at heart. He was 65.

He died yesterday morning in a Swakopmund hospital after a short illness. Muheua served as a member of the National Assembly from 2009 to 2018 and deputy minister of Labour and Social Welfare from 2010 to 2015.

Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha remembered the late Muheua as a humble trade unionist. 

“He was part and parcel of shaping the socio-economic policy of the country. We differed on many aspects since he was political in his trade union endeavour but when it comes to matters of the workers, he was a principled unionist,” recalled Kavihuha. 

He said the last time they were on a mission was when they went to the Netherlands for an economic and social council meeting while Muheua was the labour deputy minister. 

“Upon our return, he got the stroke. A loss to the Muheua family is a loss to the country and TUN. I will forever cherish the open-door policy he had when it comes to serving the plight of workers,” said Kavihuha. 

“He (Muheua) was a politician, we couldn’t agree on everything but the plight of the workers was and remains. To us, he is one of the trade unionists of note.” 

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa was caught unaware that Muheua passed on.

“You are the first person telling me that he is no more. This is shocking. My condolences to the Muheua family and the unions. I remember that his background stems from being part and leading the union,” said Shaningwa.

She added the late Muheua was a calm and committed Swapo cadre who, when contributing to issues, would always stick to facts and not blurt out random information or words for the sake of it. 

“He was always true to his facts,” said Shaningwa. 

Another contemporary of the late Muheua is former secretary general of the Namibian Employers’ Federation Tim Parkhouse. 

“I was always impressed by his grasp of issues and his dedication to furthering improved labour relations in Namibia. He was always reasonable in his discussions, never bigoted nor biased. He could, however, put his foot down very firmly when the occasion required,” he said.

Parkhouse believes Muheua has laid some very sound foundations for the development of Namibia in general but especially in labour matters. 

“We travelled together to many International Labour Organisation (ILO) and African Union (AU) conferences and meetings and I enjoyed those journeys recalling him as a person with a sense of humour and sincerity. May his soul rest in well-earned eternal peace,” Parkhouse paid tribute.

Trade unionist-turned-politician, Evilastus Kaaronda said the death of Muheua is a loss to the voiceless as he played an instrumental role in addressing the plight of workers. 

“One attribute is his ability to be level-headed. He had the capacity to not get tired when it comes to seeking peace when parties were at odds. He made it his business to address the plight of the people through the union,” said Kaaronda, who is now acting Swanu secretary general. 

“It doesn’t matter how much you throw at him, he would always take it and that’s a valuable lesson he taught me - to never let and allow what people say get to me.”

Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi also expressed his sadness over the passing of Muheua. 

“We have lost a fearless unionist and a dedicated servant of the people of Namibia. He was at the forefront of the labour movement during the liberation struggle. He served the nation with humility and dedication. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” said Katjavivi.

Muheua was born on 7 November 1956, in the Omaruru area. 

Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba appointed him to the position of deputy minister of labour and social welfare in his second cabinet. 

In 2018, Muheua resigned from parliament on health grounds.


2022-02-17  Paheja Siririka

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