, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Police have warned teachers against engaging in violence as they hold protests to demand implementation of their pay increment.
Police Spokesman Charles Owino says any teacher who breaks the law will be held personally responsible.
“We the police recognise the constitutional provision that every person has the right to peacefully and unarmed to assemble, demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions to public authorities,” he pointed out as teachers gathered with their union officials at Uhuru Park for a protest and prayers.
“We must note that the freedom of expression does not extend to incitement to violence or advocacy of hatred.”
He spoke on Wednesday as labour union officials joined KNUT and KUPPET in national prayers at Uhuru Park where Secretary General Wilson Sossion urged teachers to press on with their strike until paid.
“We are here to show there is a problem in the country…a major problem,” he said amid cheers from teachers. “The level of corruption remains high.”
Learning remains paralysed in public schools countrywide for the second week after teachers kept off classrooms to protest government failure to pay them, with others opting to disrupt activities.
“The storming of any private school or any other institution is illegal. Teachers and the unions concerned should know this is a dispute between them and their employers,” Owino said.
The prayers bringing together hundreds of teachers were led by top KNUT officials, including Secretary General Sossion and chairman Mudzo Nzili.
Sossion accused Salaries and Remuneration chairperson Sarah Serem of interfering with the teachers’ affairs, while saying she is the one complicating matters.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli was also present at the prayer meeting that largely castigated the government for disobeying court orders.
On Tuesday, Sossion stated that TSC was in no position to threaten teachers after refusing to effect the 50 to 60 percent salary increment awarded by the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
“This strike has been caused by the Government of Kenya and we will be out for as long as it takes. If it means that they take our salaries, let them do so for all of us. If it means that they fire us, we are prepared for that eventuality. This time round we are not budging even a little,” he said.
“We are now declaring total action for the remaining days until we direct you otherwise. There will be total paralysis. Teachers should not go near any school and to our good parents, we urged you to keep your children at home. We cannot guarantee you the safety of your children in school.”
Sossion stressed that they will remain on with the strike for as long as is necessary.