, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – Nominated Member of the National Assembly Wilson Sossion (ODM) is among eleven trade unionists that have been advised to relinquish their positions as trade union leaders.
Sossion who is the current Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is listed in a gazette notice published on Wednesday alongside the Kenya Union Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Chairperson Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya MP).
Others in the notice by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of East Africa, Labour and Social Protection Phyllis Kandie are Stanley Kiptis, Catherine Wambilianga, Mulei Mwalowa, Florence Bore and Richard Cheserem.
“It is notified for the general information that the following persons (the eleven) being State Officers as per the provisions of Article 77 and 260 of the Constitution cease to hold office immediately as trade union officials in their respective trade unions,” read the gazette notice.
“This notification to vacate office applies to all Trade Union officials holding either nominated or elective positions in any County Assembly or Parliament,” Kandie’s notice read.
On November 11, Sossion had issued a directive in his capacity as KNUT Secretary General asking the union Chairperson Mudzo Nzili and Vice Chairperson Samson Kaguma to proceed on terminal leave ahead of their retirement on May 16 and April 2, 2017, respectively.
In the letter, Sossion argued that it was paramount that the two exited the union since the union’s Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) in which their replacements were to be picked was approaching.
“Six months prior to the date of retirement, an officer is granted terminal leave pending retirement. At this point, the union must plan a by-election in the preceding ADC,” Sossion said
“Their positions shall be filled in a by-election during the 60th ADC. Wycliffe Etole Omucheyi shall assume office as the Acting National Chairman precisely on 16th November and preside over the 60th ADC,” Sossion ordered at the time.
He further directed that the matter is put to rest urging delegates preparing for the conference to focus on “critical issues” facing the membership of KNUT in pursuit of delivery of quality education.
However, despite Nzili’s silence on the matter, Sossion’s move was quickly resisted by the Commissioner of labour in a letter dated November 14.
“In light of the above and having referred to article 18(c) of the union’s constitution, it would be unlawful to proceed with the planned by-elections scheduled for December 14, since the positions are not yet vacant,” the letter to Sossion read in part.
Reacting to the letter, Sossion said he will not accept any directives from State agencies insisting that he was only subject to decisions on the union organs.
Nzili and Sossion have denied engaging in power games even as different factions in KNUT appear to be pushing their separate agendas.
KNUT’s ADC, the sixtieth since its inception got underway in Mombasa on Wednesday, December 13, coinciding with CS Kandie’s gazette notice publication.
It remains unclear whether Sossion will preside over the meeting with members opposing him having raised objections.