The newly-appointed Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials on Sunday said they will not go back on their decision to suspend embattled Secretary-General Wilson Sossion.
Led by Secretary-General Hesbon Otieno, they said the union is focused on championing teachers issues, and was preparing to meet with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) anytime from Monday to resolve all outstanding issues.
“The National Executive Council (NEC) pronounced itself on the union’s leadership and we are not turning back … We have already written a letter to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) requesting for a consultative meeting so that our teachers can benefit,” he said.
“We do not want to engage in sideshows. The meeting that we held last week was legal and was requested by the national steering committee and teachers from across the country,” he added.
The events that have been unfolding over the last three months have seen divisions within Knut’s top leadership, which culminated in Mr Sossion being isolated and finally deregistered by the registrar of trade unions on Thursday.
Mr Otieno took over the position in an acting capacity, awaiting his validation during the annual delegates conference scheduled for December 1 in Kakamega.
He said the union does not expect any negative outcome since they did not disobey any court order.
The NEC decided to call for a different meeting on August 27 after realising that Mr Sossion had obtained a court order stopping an earlier scheduled meeting.
But Mr Sossion on Sunday insisted that he remains Knut’s bona fide secretary-general.
He has threatened to sue the registrar of trade unions, Mrs E.N. Gichera, and the Knut leadership for contempt of court for ignoring a court order stopping his replacement.
“The court order stopped the NEC meeting and any other meeting,” Mr Sossion asserted.
Mr Sossion said everything will fall in place eventually. “This union is bigger than all of us. We have structures and frameworks for handling our matters quietly and in an orderly manner. None of us is an enemy of the other.
“As for me, I have done my job to the best of my ability, the best of my knowledge and in accordance with the Knut Constitution and the ADC resolutions, which are final and binding,” he said.
“For avoidance of doubt, I am the secretary-general, and I’m not quitting unless the delegates cast their votes to remove me,” he said.
But Mr Otieno dismissed Mr Sossion’s statement, saying that as a union, they are ready to fight and ensure that teachers benefit.
During this week’s Knut and TSC meeting, Mr Otieno said they will discuss the teachers’ salary increment, promotions and remission of the union dues.
Following a ruling in July by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, the commission failed to effect the salary increments of 103,624 Knut members.