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KNUT to hold elections end month amid dwindling membership

By Jacinta Mutura | June 13th 2021
Nominated MP and KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sosion speaking at a burial in Chulaimbo Kisumu on October 21, 2017. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The struggling Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) is set to hold its national elections on June 26.

The election date was announced by the National Executive Council (NEC) yesterday.

The council held a Knut Special Delegates Conference bringing to an end the anxiety over possible failure to hold the national elections as the term of current officials expires on June 30.

“There has been reluctance from some officials who did not want us hold the elections ... but we have managed to schedule the date and the venue,” said Collins Oyuu, the union’s acting national chair.

Oyuu said the elections would be held at Ruaraka Sports Club in Nairobi.The notice issued by the NEC allocated 1,878 delegates from the eight regional branches.

Central region was allocated 211 delegates, Coast 139, Eastern 392, Nairobi 43, North Eastern 25, Nyanza 327, Western 238 and Rift Valley 503.

Union rules

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Knut’s national election was supposed to be held between April and June 30 when the five-year term lapses in accordance with the trade unions rules.

According Oyuu, the resolution came following a push by members to have the plans for the June polls announced and cleaning up of the delegates list to conform to the 2019 membership register.

Knut will not only be electing new officials but will also be seeking to have new faces in the union that has in the past few years seen thousands of its members leave through coercion by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) or voluntarily.

“There has been a lot of infighting and that has cost us because teachers withdrew their membership. We hope that the new crop of officials will help rejuvenate the union,” said Oyuu, who will face the current secretary general Wilson Sossion for the position in the polls.

His sentiments were echoed by Stanely Mutai, Rift valley executive secretary, who said that the push and pull between the union and TSC through court battles saw the union deprived of membership contributions from teachers, leading to closure of branch offices. 

Financial constraints

“Workers in the 110 regional offices have not been paid due to financial constraints that stemmed from the withdrawal of members,” Mutai.

Knut membership dropped from 187,000 to 17,000, with contributions going down from Sh141 million to paltry Sh12 million.

“We must restore the industrial relationship between the union and the employer. All the operations have stalled at the headquarters and the regional offices,” said Mutai.

Mutai, who announced his interest in vying for the first national vice chair’s position, said the wrangles had affected the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Some 11 positions are up for grabs in the elections. Oyuu hopes to beat Sossion who has been at the helm of the teachers’ union since 2013.

“As teachers, we are organised and focused and after June, we will have fresh blood in Knut leadership.

“We will overhaul its leadership because Knut has been in turmoil. Time has come for us to redeem it and change its image. We must restore the long-lost glory of union,” said Mutai.


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