- KNUT Sec Gen Wilson Sossion has demanded that education CS Matiang'i keeps of the day-to-day activities of universities
- Sossion says that Matiang'i asked Masinde Muliro University to cancel the honorary award it had planned to confer to COTU boss Atwoli
- Atwoli was to receive Doctorate in Labour Relations degree on Friday
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i once again in a controversial position after Kenya National Union of Teacher (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion accused him of denying Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli a chance to get an honorary award.
Atwoli was set to receive the award from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology on Friday, December 15 during its 12 graduation ceremony.
He was to receive the Doctorate in Labour Relations degree as an honour to his role in labour rights in Kenya.
The University on November 5, 2017 ran an advert in a local daily headlined “Proposed Award and Proposed Conferment of Honorary Degree of Doctors in Humane Letters (Labour Relations)” giving reasons for the Award including a mention of Atwoli being one of the founders of the University.
The University did not give the reason for reversing the award and denied claims that the move was orchestrated by CS Matiang’i.
The University spokesman who also plays the role of convener of the Honorary Degrees Awards Committee, Dr. Bob Mbori said that there was no politics involved in withholding Atwoli’s hounour. Dr.Mbori said that the committee had not finalized the process for issuing the honours but would do so in future.
The institution awarded former President Mwai Kibaki a similar honorary degree and former athlete Tecla Lorupe in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Sossion, in a letter, addressed to CS Matiang’i on December 8 accuses the latter of interfering with the management of institutions of higher learning. “ It is really disturbing for the Ministry of Education, which is charged with the responsibility of protecting educational institutions’’ right to operate independently, to interfere with the day-to-day running of universities,” he expressed his disappointment.
Sossion demanded that the University Council and Senate should go ahead and confer the honorary award to Atwoli. He urged the university committee not to bow to pressure from ‘external forces’ which he claimed are out to frustrate the independence of the University Council and Senate.
Atwoli on his side expressed his shock as he was looking forward to the event. At a fundraiser in Kakamega County on December 10, he said that he was excited the University had chosen him only to learn about the cancellation later.
CS Matiang’I has remained mum on the issue.
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