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Friday, July 28, 2017

Feuds among nurses’ union officiaIs threaten CBA talks

KNUN secretary general Seth Panyako (L) and other union officials at the Milimani commercial courts on December 13 /COLLINS KWEYU
KNUN secretary general Seth Panyako (L) and other union officials at the Milimani commercial courts on December 13 /COLLINS KWEYU

The ongoing negotiations for a nurses’ collective bargaining agreement might fall apart following sharp rifts that have nearly grounded the union.

Union leaders have dragged secretary general Seth Panyako to court, accusing him of embezzling money and misusing members’ property to fund his campaign for the Kakamega Senate seat.

Labour Court judge Monica Mbaru last Friday temporarily stripped Panyako of his position as the head of the Kenya National Union of Nurses and stopped him from transacting any business on behalf of the union.

KNUN chairman John Biiy swore an affidavit, accusing Panyako of disappearing with a new Toyota Prado belonging to the union and paying his alleged second wife large amounts of money from the union’s accounts.

Biiy’s lawyer Mageto Bitange says the Prado, registration number KCC 757R, was assigned to Panyako, but it disappeared in June last year and could not be traced for many months.

“The vehicle was being used for private use, including conducting his [Panyako] political campaigns for the position of senator, Kakamega county for 2017,” he said in a separate application to the Labour Court on Friday last week.

The infighting threatens to tear the union apart, with members already asking for a special general meeting.

It might also ground the ongoing CBA negotiations with the Council of Governors.

Panyako and Biiy were involved in last year’s talks that yielded a monthly allowance of up to Sh20,000 for all nurses.

In the affidavit, Biiy also accuses Panyako of illegally paying Lucy Mwangi, his alleged second wife, up to Sh150,000 from the union’s coffers.

Panyako obtained orders blocking his suspension.


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