KNUT warns of strike in seven days if TSC officials not named

Written By Michael Maunda on Friday, July 18, 2014 | 1:30 AM

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion
A union has issued a seven-day strike notice to Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi demanding the full installation of Teachers’ Service Commission members.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Wilson Sossion alleged there was a plot to usurp TSC’s powers and hand them to the National Education Board.
Speaking at the Embu University College during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the institution and Knut, which offers teachers and their spouses a 16 per cent discount on tuition, Mr Sossion said TSC was independent and should not be interfered with.
He said failure by the minister to install a TSC chairman and five directors in four years was a sign that the government intended to disband or limit the commission’s powers.
Mr Sossion alleged that the plans were already at an advanced stage and would be executed soon.
He said he had already written a protest letter to Prof Kaimenyi.
In a rare show of solidarity between the commission and Knut, five TSC county directors urged the union to intervene, saying the education board was usurping their role.
Led by chairman Kinoti Imanyara (Nyeri), directors Lillian Mwangi (Embu), Justina Kianga (Kirinyaga), J Kokello (Tharaka-Nithi) and Adan Shaban (Murang’a) said the TSC was under threat due to the creation of two centres of power, issuing instructions to teachers.
Mr Sossion said lack of a properly constituted TSC had led to a vacuum and discipline cases took almost two years to be resolved.
“In 2005, we shot down the proposed constitution as it called for the scrapping of the TSC. In 2010, it was included in the draft that sailed through. We wanted an independent TSC,” he said.
Mr Sossion said county governments were violating the Constitution by employing pre-school teachers — a role for the TSC.
“County governments have usurped the role of the TSC and consequently are paying trained teachers way below the minimum wage,” he said.
Knut chairman Mudzo Nzili said teachers did not want to be drawn into politics but they would demand that the law be followed.
“Anyone provoking the teaching fraternity will be met with force. We work with the government of the day, but to the extent that everything is within the Constitution. Let nobody in the Ministry of Education take us for granted,” he said.