Teachers support bid to create new posts in executive to foster unity

TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia.
Teachers support a national referendum that would widen power sharing in the Executive.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) with about 190,000 members, says the Constitution should be amended to expand the Executive by creating more slots for national stability.

In his presentation last week to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion said the constitutional review is overdue.

“We need a national referendum to create an expanded Executive in which the president’s powers and privileges are shared,” Sossion said.

He told the team that the union supports a hybrid system of governance.

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“We are talking of a system which will change the Executive structure and create an executive prime minister post with two deputy prime ministers as a way of sharing power and ensuring ethnic inclusivity,” said Sossion.

The giant union spokesperson said the expanded executive will enhance stability by expanding the tribal; and regional representation in the executive arm.

“Under this arrangement, election rigging will be a thing of the past as whittled-down presidency would no longer be so attractive,” said Sossion.

The union says while Kenyans embrace cultural and ethnic diversity, national unity should not be compromised.

Sossion said teachers have suffered because of ethnic antagonism, noting that the differences in prices of labour are sociological and political in nature and not matter of personal preference.

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“This has resulted in unfair competition in job and business opportunities which also negatively affects the foundation of national economy,” said Sossion.

And now, the union believes solution lies in constitutional change.

“Union therefore recommends that the Election Law is reviewed now than later to address the loopholes that faceless politicians and political parties use to manipulate Kenyans to find their way around leadership at the expense of national unity and peace,” Sossion said.

Sossion is an ODM nominated MP. Raila, who is the ODM party leader shares the same referendum views.

The open stand by Sossion on the referendum debate now puts into context recent that saw Knut rejoin the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) after many years of separation and absolute differences between the two outfits.

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Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli has openly spoken in favour of the referendum. 

Questions have emerged over the timing of the major reunion of the two trade unions, which fell apart in 1966.

Over the years, Sossion and Atwoli have openly taken opposing stands on workers issues. Insiders in the trade union circles say the reunion is part of a wider strategy to consolidate workers vote to support the referendum push.

Speaking at the reunion, Sossion said the pact will ‘articulate workers views and representations at national, regional and international levels.’

“It will also build solidarity alliances, partnerships and networks with the government, private sector…” Sossion said.

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Recent events also saw Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia pay ODM Party leader Raila Odinga a rare courtesy call at his Capitol Hill office.

“Dr Nancy Macharia the CEO of the TSC paid me a Courtesy call at Capitol Hill Square during which we had discussions on issues to do with education and the challenges of teachers,” Raila said on his twitter account shortly after the meeting.

Although Raila said the meeting with Mrs Macharia focused on challenges facing the education sector, insiders said this was part of a wider scheme to win teachers and, by extension, all workers to win support as referendum talk builds.

Sossion had visited Capitol Hill weeks earlier to meet Raila. Details of the meeting were scanty.

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TeachersKenya National Union of TeachersKnutBuilding Bridges InitiativeWilson Sossion