Kenyan workers continue to suffer unimaginable pains as the labor movement in the country sleeps with the slavemasters.
It is a cruel mix of homeguardism when the immigration department allows foreigners more power over locals and to take over jobs that can be done by locals, thereby flouting rules.
When it comes to the failure of the trade unions, I think it is time to shine the torch on a rather little known office, that of the Registrar of Trade Unions.
The current office holder, Elizabeth Gicheha is a faceless fiend, the one behind a lot of commotion in one very key sector, finance.
Financial industry workers encompassing bankers, KRA staff, insurance staff, etc are represented by a crook-led Banking Insurance Finance Union of Kenya (BIFU).
Despite having a constitution and appointed instead of elected office bearers, BIFU has continued to side with the employers to oppress the people in the financial industry.
The over 30-year-old union is led by one Isaiah Kubai, an old guard who has pocketed courts, financial industry employers especially banks and now the Registrar of Trade Unions.
For a union that takes in contributions of over Sh10million a month, BIFU has remained adamant to the plight of the workers in that industry.
Old Kubai has been in power for the 34 years of BIFU’s existence and had not allowed for elections, as not allowed for opening of physical branch offices in the regions and above all has sided with banks to fire staff that are considered rogue.
In December last year, three bankers, representatives of the financial industry workers, Duncan Muthusi, Gabriel Okomo and Alphonce Were, went to court to have Kubai produce the list of all BiFU members, declare the location of physical branches, give the audited financial statements of the Union. Kubai, who is the illegal National Secretary-General, resisted but luckily for financial industry workers, he lost the case.
The court ordered him to give those to the trio Muthusi, Okomo and Were.
However, old Kubai had some tricks up his sleeve. He wasn’t going to leave power.
At close examination of the documents that Kubai gave, the trio found out that the National Secretary General had issued them with forged documents.
Kubai had lied to court. He continues to lie and holds hostage the Registar of Trade Unions.
The second trick was to use Elizabeth Gicheha, the Registar of Trade Unions to frustrate efforts of bank workers to take over the Union and to represent themselves in a proper manner.
The trio had been elected Secretary-General Duncan Muthusi, Deputy Sec General Gabriel Okomo and Organizing Secretary Alphonce Were by the workers in that industry. They were supposed to take over from the Isaiah Kubai team but the registrar of trade unions has refused to gazette their names as required by law.
In his part, Isaiah Kubai knows the language of oppress, fire and bribe. The three diabolic tools he has used efficiently for the past 33 years or so.
BIFU’s constitution says that office bearers must be elected after every five years, but despite not having conducted any elections since 1986, Isaiah Kubai has remained at the helm.
What old Kubai does is to appoint puppets in the regions, some are even janitors, not working in financial industry, in total disregard of the law, as representatives, who then ‘elect’ him.
Sly like a jackal Elizabeth N. Gicheha
In 2014, the Registrar of Trade Unions, Elizabeth Gicheha overturned the removal of the late George Muchai as Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Deputy Secretary-General.
Working in a highly unregulated area, where unions take money from workers with little overseeing from the Registrar is very lucrative. Having exposed a lot of cartels, one of their tricks that we know is ‘going faceless’ online. You will search for their picture even on important functions or professional social media sites like LinkedIn but will not find. Elizabeth Gicheha is faceless.
Sources intimate that one can make millions of shillings for such a decision as done in 2014. No doubt Ms Gicheha, who is fond of issuing statements ‘without a face’, made something from that decision.
It is quite likely that Elizabeth Gicheha has been pocketed by BIFU’s Isaiah Kubai.
Staff at the Registrar’s office complain of mistreatment.
Despite her mandate being audit of trade unions’ books, oversee that unions have branches, oversee that branch officials are also delegates oversee that Unions are properly licensed, Elizabeth Gicheha has remained aloof when it comes to BIFU.
BIFU supplied her and the court with fake documents, BIFU doesn’t have branches, BIFU doesn’t have a true list of members, Elizabeth has not uttered a thing, however, when it comes to confirming the true officials of BIFU (the trio), is where she draws the line.
Is the interior ministry under Fred Matiang’i complicit?
Who is protecting Elizabeth Gicheha, the queen of impunity?
Elizabeth Gicheha is just fond of targeting ‘big unions’, for example ordering Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to conduct elections. As to why is everyone’s guess.
According to Ministry of Labour, Trade Unions Sections, The functions of the Registrar of Trade Unions are stated as:
- Registration of trade unions, employer’s organizations and federations and their branches.
- Registration of elected officials after the general elections and by-elections.
- Registration of trade unions constitutions or any amendments thereof and change of name(s).
- Inspection of trade unions books of accounts and records.
- Updating trade union membership records upon receipt and scrutiny of the Annual Returns.
- Preparing submissions and liaising with the Office of the Attorney General on cases brought against the Registrar or where the Registrar is a Respondent.
- General administration of the trade unions under the provisions of the relevant laws thereto.
- Registration of amalgamations of trade unions, employers’ organizations and federations.
- Directing all registered trade unions, employers’ organizations and federations to carry out elections after the mandatory five years in accordance with the Labour Relations Act,
- Determination of trade unions disputes arising from their operations in accordance with the law and their constitutions.
- Cancellation and/or suspension of trade unions which are dissolved or have ceased to exist or are operating in contravention of the law.
- Issuance of Extracts (registered officials) of trade unions, employers’ organization and federations upon request
The functions in bold have not been done in the case of BIFU as earlier stated.
cnyakundi.com can now confirm that the faceless Elizabeth Gicheha, the Registrar of Trade Unions is a beneficiary of corruption. Her file is now open.
Reach us on [email protected] | WhatsAPP 0710 280 973
Would you like to get published on this Popular Blog? You can now email Cyprian Nyakundi any breaking news, Exposes, story ideas, human interest articles or interesting videos on: [email protected] Videos and pictures can be sent to +254 710 280 973 on WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.