, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – They were told by their former Secretary General Francis Ng’ang’a that the ‘Mapambano’ song was, “stolen,” from them by politicians and they made an effort to reclaim it at their Annual Delegates Conference on Monday.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) members present at the conference sang it to Cabinet Secretary for Education Jacob Kaimenyi and Teachers Service Commission Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni as they informed them they would not be reporting for duty, come January.
“We are to vote on the resolution tomorrow but you can already see the mood of teachers,” KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said of the teachers who attempted to boo Kaimenyi and Lengoiboni off stage when they asked for more time to conclude negotiations on a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Both Kaimenyi and Lengoiboni however held their ground with the latter pledging that the negotiations with KNUT would be concluded before the conclusion of the 2014/15 financial year.
A position KNUT Chairman Mudzo Nzili said was untenable as they had already been over indulgent with the government.
“We have played patriotism even by allowing the candidates to sit for their examinations. But the teachers of Kenya have been provoked beyond their limit. We have given dialogue 26 sessions yet the government is playing games,” he said.
The teachers and government not only butted heads over a CBA but over the latter’s decision to abolish ranking of secondary schools and students based on the results attained in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination.
Sossion reiterated his opposition to the decision saying it would compromise quality of education.
“If it’s no longer competitive who gets blamed when the quality goes down? The teachers of course. If the problem is cheating then sort it out with the examinations council,” he said.
In response, Kaimenyi said KNUT was entitled to their opinion but, “it does not make them right.”
And despite the teacher’s claiming otherwise, he said they had been involved as stakeholders in the consultations that preceded the decision.
Nzili however maintained that they hadn’t and branded Kaimenyi, “a liar.”
The third bone of contention between government and KNUT on Monday was the union’s directive to its members that they should not report for duty in Mandera come January because of insecurity.
Lengoiboni made it clear that they could be posted in any part of the country as per their terms of service.