By Megameno Shikwambi
Cracks within the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) have widened this past week following revelations that one of the suspended members of the organisation has been reported to the police on allegations of theft under false pretenses.
Speaking to The Patriot, NANSO president, Ester Simon said national secretary for information Tyson Hihanguapo is said to have stolen the monies at the beginning of the year.
He is said to have asked students to pay him money that he said would be used to register them at the University of Namibia (Unam).
According to Simon, aggrieved students approached their offices registering their discontent.
“It’s thousands of dollars and it’s more than one student. They said they wanted their money because they paid it to our Secretary for information. We went to the system to check to see if these students are anywhere at Unam and they were not. We called comrade Tyson. In fact he was sent an email by the SG saying he must revert back and his answer was that ‘NANSO should pay back because I was acting in my capacity as secretary for information’.
How do you take money from students pretending to go register them and you eat up their money? We cannot have national leaders that are dishonest like that. In fact there is even a police charge because (one of the) students went to lay a charge against him,” said Simon. Tyson is also facing charges of harassment of the national executive committee members “with harsh words”.Simon said she is also a victim of the same. “It was not Ester’s decision to suspend anyone, neither was it a national executive committee’s decision but it was a collective decision taken a general students’ council. This is the highest decision making body.
This brings together all regional chairpersons and national executive committee members as well as technical staff appointed by the NANSO national executive committee.“What we have been going through as an organisation is quite sad and very embarrassing because we have a collective of individuals who per se do not respect the constitution of the organisation. So you ask yourself, who is above the constitution? If anybody feels at any time to violate and disrespect it then that person is not worth of being part of the organisation.“The challenge of the division is quite sad and for me it breaks my heart every day. As young people we have a common goal that we need to be fighting for but we are fighting against each other,” she said.
Since last year, NANSO has been struggling to reunite its ranks with proposals for leadership trainings, Simon said. “Year in year out, we need to be fighting one another while we have something to fight which is the system that is against our students. Last year there was even a motion to suspend some of these colleagues.
She said there was a unanimous agreement to have the “rebels” rehabilitate themselves via formal apologies in order to move on was reached. Other suspended members are Bernard Kavau (insubordination), Simon Amunime (unreasonable social behavior, harassment, insubordination) and Sheya Nangolo (unreasonable social behavior, harassment, verbal sallies and using organisation into disrepute). Kavau has been accused to having press conferences and writing press releases without being authorized to do so as well as addressing the media without consultation from the national executive committee. “Imagine you as the president, you just wake up and you are reading a newspaper article where the vice president is giving information on things you do not know about and the entire national executive committee is not consulted by somebody that is somebody to be responsible for discipline and is having mini-meetings to cause disunity,” she said.
Amunime is described a “special case” because according to Simon he harbors bitterness stemming from the time she beat her in the race to the helm of NANSO. She said that she felt there is a need to reach out to him.
“Unfortunately there is only one winner and one doesn’t always make it. So he has lost to me and he has made it a daily habit to make sure that he is going to cause disruption. Consistently I say comrade can we work together, can we form a president’s committee then you can maybe champion some of the projects that you wanted to do.
But no, he doesn’t want to come on board and he and Bernard Kavau are friends. They have then decided to constantly instigate students, sending out information which is even wrong,: she said. Sheya has been accused to sabotage and showing up at general students council meetings despite him not being a member. Meanwhile the suspended members have put it on record that they have not taken the actions against them seriously because there were not served with suspension letters.