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Order affects five MPs involved in trade unions as they are state officers

By Luke Anami | December 14th 2017
Kuppet Chairman Amboko Milemba (left) and Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion. The Government has ordered unionists who hold elective positions to leave their positions in their respective unions. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

Unionist Wilson Sossion is among five MPs, two governors, and four MCAs who have been directed by the Labour Ministry to vacate their positions as union officials.

This could also see Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Chairman Omboko Milemba vacate the position after being elected as Emuhaya MP.

In a special issue of the Kenya Gazette dated December 13, 2017, East African Affairs, Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said the 11 officials are in violation of the provisions of Article 77 and 260 of the Constitution as they are now State officers by way of nomination and election to Parliament.

The classification could see them lose their seats should they fail to vacate their offices.

But Mr Sossion, the Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general, scoffed at the directive, terming it a witchhunt with no basis in law.

Sossion was nominated to the National Assembly by the Orange Democratic Movement.

Among those gazetted as state officers are Sossion, Nyeri Governor and Knut branch secretary Mutahi Kahiga, and Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis.

Others who have been asked to vacate their union offices include Bungoma Woman Representative Catherine Wambilianga, Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui (Kuppet executive secretary, Bomet branch), and Richard Cheserem.

Others are Florence Bore, John Mwamusi, and Mulei Mwalowa.

Ms Bore, is the Kericho Kuppet secretary and won the race for the woman representative’s seat in the county, while Mr Cheserem, who holds a similar position in Baringo, was elected MCA in Soimo ward.

“This notification to vacate office applies to all trade union officials holding either nominated or elective positions in any county assembly or Parliament,” Ms Kandie said.

Article 77 of the Constitution restricts full-time state officers from holding alternative positions of gainful employment.

The Gazette notice also affects Union of Kenya Civil Servants Secretary General Tom Odege, who was elected MP for Nyatike constituency.

“I have checked our file at the trade union's office and we have found it intact. This is an irregular move by the Government meant to destroy the trade union movement,” said Sossion.

Mr George Muchai, who died when he was MP for Kabete, was also the deputy secretary general of Cotu.

This also applies to Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui, who has been actively involved in politics before.

Both the Baringo and Nyeri governors had resigned before they vied for their seats.

It was not clear why the CS did not include other trade union officials who won MCA seats on August 8 and say whether they had to quit their positions.

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