NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has dismissed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s statement on the teachers strike saying he was misadvised by both the Teachers Service Commission and the Salaries(TSC) and the Salaries and Remunerations Commission(SRC).
Speaking during a press conference on Monday, the union’s Secretary General Wilson Sossion stated that teachers are not moved and will stay out of school until the between 50 and 60 percent pay increase awarded by the courts is effected.
Sossion described the President’s statement as an attempt to arm-twist the Court of Appeal to rule in its favour and stated that the Head of State did not have the mandate to interpret and apply the law.
“Teachers take no joy in being on strike because effectively our children are affected. The President is being fed with lies from one party, TSC and one person who has destroyed education in this country, Kaimenyi assisted by some advisors in the Civil sector like the Musau Ndundas of this country who claim to be experts in education and they have never taught in any classroom,” he stated.
His sentiments were echoed by the National Chairman Mudzo Nzili who stated that teachers will remain on strike for as long as it takes to pay them their dues.
“Anybody who is trying to separate the teachers from the government. Anybody who is trying to feed the President of this country with lies, anybody who is trying to portray the President as a person who does not love teachers of this country because of the lies, that person is living in another world,” he said.
Nzili pointed out that the President’s assertions contained several erroneous assertions one being that the mandate of SRC under Article 230 is to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of State Officers.
He stated that under Article 260, teachers are not state officers.
“The President is a state officer along with all those listed under the Article. The mandate of SRC with regard to Public Officers who do not come under the Constitutional definition of state officers is advisory only. TSC, a constitutional commission is the one mandated to set the remuneration and benefits for teachers and may in so doing consult with SRC,” he stated.
He described it as a contradiction that the Head of State indicated that the appeal is pending hearing by the Court of Appeal and in the same breath made it clear that his government will not pay any increment.
“All the matters that the President raised in his statement were fully argued by the Attorney General before the Employment and Labour Relations Court and were taken into account in that court’s judgment. The government’s appeal is against this judgment. The President is thus regurgitating issues pending hearing in the Court of Appeal,” he stated.
He revealed that the controversial 50 and 60 percent pay increase was offered by TSC at a meeting in which treasury was represented and was based on sustainability amongst other considerations.