NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 29 – Chaos erupted at Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) headquarters early Thursday after senior officials vowed to proceed with a special sitting to oust embattled Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
National officials who addressed the press said the long-serving union leader was no longer a registered teacher and was therefore not fit to hold office.
The officials stormed the union’s at Mfangano Street in Nairobi demanding that Sossion, a nominated lawmaker, vacates office and protested his defiance after he earlier stated that he will stay put.
They were further agitated by Sossion’s move to obtain a court order outlawing a planned National Executive Council (NEC) meeting accusing him of attempting to frustrate a lawful meeting. The officials said they had not received court orders forbidding the NEC matting.
“He has brought this union to where it is up now. Did you see the way Sossion addressed the nation yesterday (Thursday) in parliament alone? The guy was just fuming like a cattle rustler!” one of the officials said.
“I am referring to Wilson Sossion as a former Secretary General of KNUT. We are saying that the despots must fall!”
Police were called in to maintain order as tension mounted at KNUT headquarters.
Some of the teachers who traveled from miles away to attend Thursday’s meeting were left infuriated upon arriving at the headquarters and finding the doors locked after Sossion ordered the closure of offices until September 4 ostensibly to allow staff members make arrangements to take their children back to school for third term.
Sossion has remained adamant and vowed to continue discharging his mandate as the union’s Secretary Union until a properly constituted meeting is called to tell him otherwise.
“Sossion is an individual. He will come and go but as of now he is the elected substantive Secretary General of KNUT and I am not quitting,” he had stated.
Sossion said some members of the union’s governing body were out to humiliate him by unlawfully ejecting him from office.
“I have obtained a court order from the Employment and Labor Relations Court outlawing any meeting, until a later date that I shall communicate. You understand there has been a well-orchestrated and a well-funded campaign to humiliate me,” the union leader told reporters on Wednesday.
“Forget this story of Sossion being thrown out because am not quitting, the only people who can remove me are the delegates who elected me, so if anyone wants me out should wait for the forthcoming Annual Delegates Conference in December to campaign,” he said.
According to Sossion, there are strong forces behind the sustained attacks on the union. He accused the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of trying to manipulate the union into getting a leader of its choice.
Sossion said there are individuals with vested interests seeking to collapse the union because of their selfish interests.
“No employer can choose leaders for a trade union because that will be the beginning of the death of that particular union and the labor movement. So fundamentally what’s happening is an attack on the trade union movement which is wrong,” he said.