The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has been on the forefront in fighting for teachers’ rights since I can remember.
Ambrose Adongo was the fiercest teacher defender in our time when we were growing up (late 90s).
The sabotaging of teachers did not begin then. The real dismantling of the powerful KNUT, began in 2015 after Dr Nancy Macharia took over at Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Nancy has overseen the demoralization of teachers though sponsoring squabbles at KNUT, double registration of teacher representative organizations, illegal deduction of salaries and outright corruption.
This has been supported by the Government which feared and continues to fear a united teachers’ movement.
KNUT Secretary General is currently facing mounting pressure from teachers and staff of KNUT for failing to protect the union.
Over 100 KNUT offices have been closed countrywide due to lack of funds to run them.
TSC is the one that collects membership fee for KNUT by deducting it from teachers’ salaries (members of KNUT) and wiring it into KNUT’s account.
Ways TSC has been sabotaged KNUT
In a increasingly gender-sensitive world, TSC and Kenya Women Teacher’s Association (KEWOTA) lied to the government and all NGOs supporting education that female teachers need their own organization for empowerment.
KEWOTA which is a new entrant into the fight for control of teachers has been accused of colluding with TSC to deduct Sh200 from female teachers’ salaries.
Those teachers who noticed double deductions from their pay slips complained to TSC to stop the deductions but these fell on deaf ears.
“We wrote to both KEWOTA and TSC to stop the deductions but the deductions are continuing”, a teacher who spoke on condition that her identity should not be revealed said.
KEWOTA is formed by a few women, Ms Benta Opande as the CEO, Ms Jacinta Ndegwa as the treasurer and Ms Dorothy Muthoni as the chairperson, some of whom left KNUT, having been paid handsomely by the deep state and Nancy Macharia to cause harm to teachers’ movement.
Ms Jacinta Ndegwa is a former KNUT official. She resigned in June 2019 citing frustration from Wilson Sossion, the KNUT Secretary General.
KNUT was against the registration of KEWOTA and had written to Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) and in extension KEWOTA over membership row.
KEWOTA, on its website, boasts of being an association that consists of female teachers employed by the TSC, privately employed female teachers, ECDE female teachers, SNE female teachers and other women in the education sector.
KEWOTA says it addresses issues to do with Women Empowerment but in this case, it seems like a dis-empowerment.
KEWOTA is impacting negatively on the lives of teachers.
Some other teacher who also spoke on condition of anonymity said that teachers were forcefully conscripted into the organization and that’s why it is hard to remove them.
Blacklisting KNUT Members
Sossion says that since July 1, 2019, TSC unilaterally suspended the Knut/TSC CBA against its members, further blacklisting Knut members from benefiting from promotions saying the move was meant to cripple operations.
The blacklisting of some teachers makes them leave KNUT for other Unions such as Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) under General Akelo Misori or forced to joine KEWOTA.
These scheme denies KNUT the much needed revenue to operate.
Most of these are done illegally by TSC as Sossion revealed that KNUT has not received any letter from its members resigning from the body.
“TSC violates the constitution by denying teachers to be part of a trade union”, Sossion said.
“Further, they have gone to hire staff at the IPPD to offload Knut members illegally, the law is clear when a member resigns from the union,” he added.
The reduced revenue has seen KNUT shut down 110 branches courtesy of meddling on the UNION’s internal affairs by TSC, particularly Nancy Macharia.
Sossion, a nominated MP is a frustrated man, having fought off attempts by TSC to install a puppet at Mfangano Street.
“Some lazy characters in this country who have taken over TSC cannot wake up in the year 2017 and their business at TSC is nothing but to plan for the destruction of the union and sale a narrative that a strong union is bad for the government,” he said.
In August 2019, KNUT top organ which was attended by 22 out of 37 members removed Sossion and replaced him with his deputy Hesbon Otieno. The court overruled this change and Sossion was reinstated.
The above was possible because of sabotage by TSC which makes Sossion appear unable to negotiate on behalf of teachers.
KNUT properties in the 110 branches have been auctioned off, staff have lost their salaries and Medical covers. Worse still, some staff have been evicted for failure to pay rent and others listed on Credit Reference Bureau for defaulting on loans.
A letter sent to Labor Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, on Friday, lists all the above woes, and gives the CS 7 days to address the matter between TSC and KNUT.
KNUT is looking at total annihilation where TSC will install someone who is a puppet. It doesn’t help issues that Nancy Macharia has got a new illegal contract extension. The govt wants the powerful KNUT gone for good.
If you think that issues raised on this article are farfetched, then you’ve never heard of Banking Insurance and Finance Union of Kenya (BIFU).
Despite representing workers in the key financial services industry from KRA, Banks, Cooperatives, etc, BIFU is lame duck
BIFU was hijacked and despite elections which replaced the senile Isaiah Kubai taking place, the man is still at the helm of the Union, taking over Sh5 million home in monthly collections, with nothing to show for it. Financial services workers are oppressed, mistreated and fired, left, right, center and the Union, which they contribute to stays mum, sometimes colludes with banks to have them fired.
There’s the protection from deep state and that corrupt office of the Registrar of Trade Unions under Elizabeth Gicheha.
TSC has also been emboldened to finish KNUT due to this axis of evil.
Be very wary.
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