WINDHOEK - The leadership of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) yesterday left President Hage Geingob hanging when they failed to show up for a scheduled meeting the union had requested with the Head of State.
Normal practice dictates that visitors wait for the Head of State’s arrival in the meeting room.
But yesterday Geingob, accompanied by Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba and ministers Erkki Nghimtina (labour), Tom Alweendo (mines and energy) and Martin Andjaba (presidential affairs), was left waiting for at least 15 minutes before being forced to cancel the meeting.
The meeting was scheduled for 10h00.
Calling off the meeting, Geingob told the media and ministers: “I am sorry we wasted your time and our time. We are going back to work now.”
At around 10h20, the MUN leadership, consisting of its acting president Allen Kalumbu, secretary-general Ebben Zarondo, secretary for the western region Petrus Petrus and others, showed up at State House after Geingob had already adjourned the waiting congregation.
Zarondo told New Era that there was miscommunication from the union’s side, which they apologise to.
“What happened is that we asked our secretary to call the office (Office of the President) that we will be running late by at least ten minutes as we were waiting for our colleagues from Rosh Pinah who were running late. However, for reasons unknown this was not communicated,” he explained.
“We apologised for the inconvenience we may have caused but we will continue to pursue the meeting with President Geingob,” he told this paper.
The meeting, New Era understands, was to discuss, among others, the recent recorded audio of the Erongo Regional Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua while having a meeting with the Husab mine management where he allegedly advised them to use a clause in the Labour Act to lay off people.
Mutjavikua was part of the wage negotiation team at the mine where the workers had downed tools after citing concerns over their safety in light of claims that unchecked explosives and detonators were discovered lying around at the pit.
Mutjavikua was overheard in a voice recording suggesting that the management of the mine cancel the recognition agreement between the mine and the 500 workers who stopped working at the end of February.
National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), the country’s biggest federation to which MUN is affiliated, has since called for the resignation of the governor.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated 15 March 2019, by Swakop Uranium employees shared by the presidency to the media yesterday, said the MUN leadership did not meet the mandate of the Swakop Uranium employees and thus did not direct the union representatives to meet with Geingob.
The letter, with 112 signatures, was addressed to executive director in the presidency Moses Pakote by Swakop Uranium employees.
“Our demand as the direct affected employees [is for] the meeting to be cancelled; [and] the MUN leadership (delegates) to come see the affected employees first before going to meet the Head of State,” the letter stated.
But, Zarondo told New Era that he suspects that the letter was part of Swakop Uranium management propaganda.
“Anyway 100 signatures by employees does not constitute an employees’ decision because the employees are over 1 000,” said Zarondo.
2019-03-19 08:44:03 2 months ago