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Sossion says his de-registration as a teacher does not affect union post

Wislon Sossion , the KNUT Secretary General. Photo/FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion has sought to allay fears that his de-registration as a teacher by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC does not affect his position in the union.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Sossion stated that his termination of employment as a teacher does not affect his rights within the union and the position he holds.

“A lot of misinformation is being peddled about a (court) ruling with respect to my relationship with TSC on employment contract. The matter under contestation has been exclusively on employment contract and not registration,” he stated.

He stated that many teachers in elective union positions have terminated their employment with TSC by resigning or retiring but continue to retain union positions.

Sossion had been deregistered as a teacher by TSC, but he filed an appeal which was dismissed on Friday.

“I technically could not retire because I was under 50 years. Many of our secretaries who have tried elective positions are living examples,” he said, and warned that “Any termination of employment of a full-time elected union official shall not affect his/her rights in the union as per our terms of service. Furthermore, a General Secretary of a Union as per the labour relations act does not necessarily have to be trained in that trade.”

TSC had been allowed to proceed with the process of de-registering Sossion as a teacher following his entry into politics, when he was nominated to the National Assembly by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) that is associated to Raila Odinga.

This is after the Employment and Labour Relations Judge Nelson Abuodha dismissed Sossion’s case challenging the January 17th, 2017 decision by the Commission to have him axed from the register maintaining that the case lacked merit.

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Further, Abuodha ruled that Section 16 of the Teachers Code of Conduct and Ethics (2015) requires a teacher to maintain political neutrality at all times and shall not act in a manner that may compromise or be perceived to compromise his or her neutrality.

“The acceptance of the nomination to National Assembly by ODM obviously put Sossion on a partisan political activity. It was a manifestation of an agreement to support ODM agenda both in and outside parliament,” he said.

The judge noted that the move was inconsistent with his contractual obligations to TSC as a teacher since the relationship he had with TSC was contractual and could be terminated by either party for lawful reasons.

“TSC has ably demonstrated that Sossion’s association and acceptance of nomination as a Member of Parliament on ODM party ticket went against its tenets as an institution in charge of regulations and discipline of those in teaching service,” he stated.

The judge pointed out that provisions of the Public Officer Ethics Act clearly show that Sossion’s act of accepting nomination to parliament on the ODM party ticket contravened the outlined provisions.

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