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More than just a KNUT Secretary-General: The other side of Wilson Sossion

OPINION
By Moses Ayier | June 28th 2021
Former KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion sheds tears while announcing his resignation from the teachers' union. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

He bowed out like a King!

Wilson Sossion has set very high standards against which the activities of the present and future unionists can be evaluated and gauged. The unionism lived in him. Listen to his voice. Deep and naturally protecting. Look at his eyes in the face of challenges that affect teachers - assuring enough. He has been faithful, relevant, consistent and resonating desirably with matters pertinent to the education policies, professional development and the general welfare of the teaching community.

When I paid him a visit recently in his rural home in Bomet, he gave me a challenge that tilted my original perception about labour movements. He acquainted me with his professional background, life in the labour movement in Kenya and beyond and the other bits of life I ought to prepare for. I thought the crave and clamour to exercise unionism and defence begin at the initial stages of the profession. At the classroom. Maybe I was wrong. Not maybe, I was wrong!

Growing up in the humble village of Longisa in Bomet East, Wilson Sossion reflects on his childhood struggles and triumphs but wait... You know what took me to him? Union politics. The stepping stones, the highs and lows and the buffer zones I needed to construct around me. Seated on the couches in the Hay Stores in his rural home, the General tells of how he rose from the classroom to become one of the most towering union leaders in Kenya.

Forget about Tenwek High School where he enjoyed the peak of his career as a teacher. He was a shining teacher and a glowing career ahead of him. His students produced Grade As in Agriculture and he won praises and accolades in school and the district. He was a great Music/Drama teacher whose compositions are archived in the national library. Such accomplishments made his professional peers to elect him to be their leader at the District. His gates were already opening wide. His peers cherished his passion and work ethic.

Not long ago, he was nominated to serve in the NEC with KNUT. Passion and commitment to represent teachers made him very outstanding and he sort mandate from teachers in Bomet and he was indeed awarded as the Branch Executive Secretary. The rest is history.

In summary, Wilson Sossion talked passionately about work - Be passionate. Love your work. Do it diligently. You don't know who is watching. Teach. They will take you when you least expect and they will assign you duties so that you change their lives.

The exit of Wilson Sossion from the leadership in the labour movement leaves behind quite a huge pair of shoes to be filled. Maybe he wasn't the right man for this era. Maybe he was. Maybe teachers didn't see the bigger picture. Don't quit your unions. The Government would be happy when you are union-less. Why? Who will protect you? 

Martin Niemoller reminds us "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

Have they come for the saviour?

The writer, Moses Ayier, is a leadership and mind coach.

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