TUCNA will study Januarie’s proposal to sue the government for $522 million

Stefanus Nashama

Mahongora Kavihuha, the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA), says he is aware of the letter from Werner Januarie, the President of the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) calling for solidarity with the federation to support him in a lawsuit in which he is demanding N$522 million from the government.

“I am aware of the letter. We did receive it,” he confirmed during an interview with the Windhoek Observer yesterday.

According to Kavihuha, the federation will study the proposal to establish and determine whether they can support it or not.

“We are going to study the proposal to establish whether it is in a personal capacity or in a union capacity. If the proposal is in a union’s capacity, then of course we will support it,” he added.

Commenting on the judicial system, Kavihuha said some decisions taken by courts are neoliberal and can be attributed to poor legal crafting.

“The judiciary sometimes interprets laws that are poorly debated and passed by parliament, he stated, adding that this is the reason the independence of the judiciary is compromised,” he said.

Kavihuha was commenting on Januarie’s remarks when he said he was disappointed and lost trust in the Namibian judicial system.

At the same time, the unionist emphasised the need for the Judicial Commission Service to deal with everything to balance its services.

Januarie, earlier this week, wrote to the union, the Popular Democratic Movement’s McHenry Venaani, and the Republican Party’s Henk Mudge to help him sue the government for N$522 million.

According to court documents, Januarie has previously sought damages amounting to N$74 million, however, in the letter, he stated that amongst other things, the lawsuit of N$74 million has ballooned to N$522 million in the appeal he registered as SA 82/ 2023.

“As a union, we have ideological clarity of thought, therefore due to our ideological positioning I approach your good institutions being political parties and trade unions that are like-minded and share the same values, principles, and ideologies, to safeguard the independence of the judiciary,” he stated.

While begging for help, Januarie pointed out that once the matter is set down for hearing, he would extend an invitation to oppositions named above for the bearing of witness to the proceedings.

He believes the presence of outside observers who are impartial and who don’t have a vested or direct and substantial interest in the matter is required.

“It is on that basis that the above invitation is extended to you, your members, and supporters as we do require your attendance,” he stated.

The lawsuit emanated from an incident that occurred in August 2020, in which he claims members of the Namibian Defence Force and the Namibian Police Force assaulted him.

According to court case documents, Januarie claims that he was harassed, assaulted and had an AK-47 rifle pointed at him by law enforcement officers.

He accused Judge Esi Schimming-Chase of acting inconsistently with the provisions of the law and failing to demonstrate independence and impartiality during the proceedings of his court case.

Equally, Januarie urged Chief Justice Peter Shivute, to ensure the upholding of the principles of neutrality, impartiality, fairness and independence in the judiciary system.

This, he said, constitutes essential components of the doctrine of the separation of powers, designed to safeguard citizens’ liberties and prevent tyranny.

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