Row looms as top Knut officials kicked out before retirement age

Friday November 10 2017

KNUT Chairman Mudzo Nzili

KNUT Chairman Mudzo Nzili at a past event. Mr Nzili and his vice-chairman Samson Kaguma have been served with retirement letters by Secretary-General Wilson Sossion. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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Two top Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials have been kicked out of their positions ahead of their retirement as leadership wrangles take stage.

Knut Chairman Mudzo Nzili and his vice-chairman Samson Kaguma have been served with retirement letters by Secretary-General Wilson Sossion who has also declared December 14 as the date of election to fill their positions.

Mr Wickliffe Omucheyi, the second vice-chairman, has been appointed as acting chairman ahead of the poll.

WRANGLES

However, Mr Nzili, who has been involved in wrangles with Mr Sossion at the union in the past, insisted that he had not retired. “I do not want to comment further on this issue please,” he told Nation.

Sources at the union said Mr Nzili is likely to head to court in order to stop the planned election.

He is supposed to retire officially in June next year when he turns 60 while Mr Kaguma is to retire in April next year.

However, one can leave office six months to the retirement date but voluntarily.

The planned December election will also be held for the position of second vice-chairman.

“The election shall be supervised and conducted by the Commissioner of Labour who has been notified in a separate correspondence,” said Mr Sossion in a letter to the union’s branch executive secretaries.

The move has also exposed differences in the union with some members of the union’s top decision making organ wondering why the hurry to retire the two.

RULING PARTY

“As a union, we did not meet to deliberate on this issue. You cannot force someone out even before he attains the mandatory retirement age. You cannot also call for an election to replace somebody who is still in office,” said a member of the national executive committee member.

The two leaders’ differences date back to 2013 when Mr Sossion managed to oust Mr Nzili who was then the acting secretary-general.

During the August election, differences between Mr Sossion, who is also an ODM nominated MP, and Mr Nzili played out as they supported different political outfits.

Whereas Mr Sossion asked all teachers to vote out Jubilee to save the teaching profession, Mr Nzili was behind the ruling party.

Last year, they differed again over new examination regulations that had been introduced by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to curb cheating.

Mr Sossion opposed the regulations while Mr Nzili supported them.

In 2014, they differed over a decision by Mr Sossion to boycott Labour Day celebrations. Mr Nzili, however, attended the event.