By AUGUSTINE ODUOR and NIKKO TANUI
NAIROBI, KENYA: Succession politics at the giant teachers’ union moved a notch higher when the two main rival groups exchanged bitter words.
Acting Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general Mudzo Nzili dared the national chairman Wilson Sossion to produce his resignation letter “if indeed he is a man”. He made the statement following reports in the media yesterday that Sossion had tendered his resignation as the national chairman.
Nzili said Sossion should desist from ‘rhetoric’ and embark on “real” activities that will make members of the union take him seriously.
“Resignation takes place on the floor on the day of elections. It is not about letters. What I have done is to vacate the office based on the pressure piled on me by members of the union so that I can seriously prepare to be the union secretary general,” Sossion said.
Sossion and Nzili are both contesting for the coveted secretary general position left vacant after the death of David Okuta Osiany. The winner becomes the union’s sixth most influential union boss.
The Standard has, however, established the ‘resignation’ is the latest strategy Sossion’s camp has deployed ahead of the December poll. Sossion’s decision to vacate office means that the first vice-national chairman Samson Kaguma will now take up the position of national chairman and execute duties and responsibilities formerly undertaken by Sossion.
Sources close to Sossion indicated that the position of deputy secretary general has been reserved for Nzili should he change his mind.
“That offer expires today and if by evening Nzili does not take it up, then we shall ‘irreversibly’ give it to another Coast region representative. The position of assistant secretary general has been given to Charles Katege of Nyanza,” said the official, who declined to be named, as he is not allowed to divulge details of the campaign strategy.
But Nzili yesterday maintained that he will not step down for anybody. He said union members had resolved that he should be the automatic successor of Okuta and noted that he will seek the endorsement of the delegates during elections.
He spoke in Kericho County during the Bureti branch Knut AGM where 35 branches endorsed his candidacy. Elsewhere, Rift Valley Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) leaders have called on the government to keep off the on-going contest between Mr Wilson Sossion and Mr Mudzo Nzili.
“We want to ensure that the person elected to the post of secretary general unites teachers and will not be compelled by any institution or government,” Rift Valley Knut Chairman Barno Lagat stated.