, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 24 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) says it will appeal fines amounting to Sh6 million imposed on the union and its officials by the Industrial Court for contempt.
KNUT chairman Wilson Sossion said the union would consult its lawyers on how to present a water-tight case before the Court of Appeal.
Speaking during a requiem mass for victims of the recent Kisii accident that left at least 20 students and teachers dead, Sossion stated that the appeal would be lodged before the end of the week following consultations.
“The case that we had the other day will be decided in the Supreme Court. We will not waver in our cause nor will we be cowed. We are very strong and we will remain that way as the national union for teachers,” he declared.
He pointed out that they were still convinced that they were not in contempt of court when the order to stop the strike was issued by Justice Linnet Ndolo.
On Monday, Justice Ndolo found them guilty of contempt of court and slapped him and Secretary General Mudzo Nzili with a Sh500,000 fine each or a jail term of 30 days.
She further ruled that KNUT pays a fine of Sh5 million which will be remitted to the Teachers Service Commission.
Justice Ndolo had pointed out that the union officials chose to ignore an order to call off the nationwide teachers’ strike in contravention of a court directive.
TSC had also sought orders to have individual teachers fined Sh10,000 to be deducted from their pay for participating in the strike.
The judge however found no basis to impose penalties on individual teachers.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) had urged the court to auction KNUT property, including the organisation’s main operations building in Nairobi, if officials did not pay a Sh20 million fine.
On Tuesday, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was present at the accident victims’ mass stated that the government acted a little too late to avert the teachers strike which he says has affected the school calendar.
“The government should have come out earlier and had a meeting with KNUT. And even after meeting with the officials, we are now seeing Sossion and Nzili in court. Is this the way we should act in good faith?” he wondered.