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Teachers divided on Uhuru directive to TSC, Knut faults Nzili

By Standard Team | November 12th 2015
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion share light moments with Chairman Mudzo Nzili during a press conference. Photo by WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD

President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive that teachers be paid their September salaries drew mixed reaction with a section welcoming the move while others insisting the money was their right.

Some Kenya National Union of Teachers officials faulted the move by their chairman, Mudzo Nzili, and other top officials to attend a meeting at State House where the deal was brokered. They described the absence of Secretary General Wilson Sossion from the meeting as a big betrayal.

Union officials were equally divided on the call by President Kenyatta that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Knut, and Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet ) go back to the negotiation table for a fresh four-year collective bargaining agreement after an award of 50-60 per cent pay increment was over-ruled by the Court of Appeal.

Kwale Kuppet Executive Secretary Mackenzi Tuki dismissed the deal saying, "You cannot fatten a dog by feeding it on its tail, the September salary is our right and we even demand an apology. Our tears have never dried and never will."

But his Knut counterpart Bashir Kilalo said the State House meeting was long overdue adding, "Let us not put politics to everything and when the talks go that way, we don't see any problem."

In Nakuru, teachers and union officials welcomed the development. Members said they had undergone untold suffering after missing their September pay.

Margret Ogema, a teacher at Kenyatta Primary School said, "I am not sure of any pay despite the presidential directive because he said TSC should consider paying teachers September salaries. I will only believe the directive when I get money in my account."

teachers right

Nakuru Knut Branch Executive Chairman Njau Kuria said paying teachers their September dues is not a favour by their employer or the Government because on signing the return to work formula, the employer agreed to pay all dues without victimisation.

"Paying September salaries is not a favour to teachers but rather, it is our right. The President is handling the issue too late, he should have acted last year because this has affected the learning process," said Mr Kuria.

In Bomet, Knut Branch Executive Secretary Malel Langat said September salaries are their right and not a subject of negotiation.

"Salaries that have been withheld by TSC are our right and should not be subject to negotiation to hoodwink teachers and make it look like a privilege that is being accorded to us by the Government," he said.

However, Andrew Kibet, a teacher from Longisa Boys High School, said the unions have been beaten hands down, and he is only prepared to listen to a song that will uplift his battered soul.

In Narok, some teachers dismissed the presidential directive saying it was an attempt to divide the teachers of Kenya.

Narok Knut Vice Executive Secretary Moses Nyaboga faulted the move, saying it was meant to divide the teachers.

Rift Valley Knut Chairperson Barnabas Lagat took issue with the approach used in dealing with the teachers' issues, arguing that the meeting was hurriedly conducted without setting an agenda that would be ideal for the teachers.

"The meeting was not authentic, it was done in an unethical way as if Kenya is under threat, where have they been all these months," he posed.

Wareng Knut Executive Secretary John Boor said Uhuru's directive to TSC was not a deal but rather their right. "September is not a donation from State House, it is a right that every teacher deserves to be awarded and it is long overdue," he said.

He took issue with Nzili's move, saying he would have consulted with all the officials before accepting to represent the education fraternity.

"Our Secretary General Wilson Sossion is the person that the teachers of Kenya will always heed. Surprisingly, we were astonished to see Nzili spearhead a delegation to State House on pretense that he is the voice of each one of us, we shall not accept any deal unless we are involved," he said.

At the same time Kisumu Teachers' unions dismissed the offer of the September salaries and accused the President of playing politics.

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