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November 20, 2017

[VIDEO] KNUT rebels against Sossion, says no election to replace Mudzo Nzili

Kenya National Union of Teachers chairman Mudzo Nzili and secretary general Wilson Sossion during their meeting in Mombasa, November 14, 2017. /ERNEST CORNEL
Kenya National Union of Teachers chairman Mudzo Nzili and secretary general Wilson Sossion during their meeting in Mombasa, November 14, 2017. /ERNEST CORNEL

KNUT will not hold by-elections to appoint a new chairman so Mudzo Nzili will remain in office until his term ends on May 16, 2018.

Secretary general Wilson Sossion, who is also a Nominated MP, wanted Nzili to resign six months prior to his retirement.

Nzili defied Sossion's directive to take a six-month terminal leave, saying he has no legal mandate to issue such a directive, considering his political position.

In a meeting on Tuesday, the union termed Sossion's move malicious and said he ought to have resigned the moment he accepted the ODM nomination.

The members demanded his immediate withdrawal from office and declared his directives null and void. 

They spoke on Tuesday during a National Executive Council meeting in Mombasa. Nzili's continued stay and the SG's possible removal will be discussed further at another meeting later this week.

Related: KNUT not affiliated to NASA, Nzili says after Sossion nomination

COURT ACTION LOOMING

KNUT's crisis meeting ended in a deadlock. A teacher who attended the meeting said in confidence that Sossion, who has refused to relinquish his position, plans to go to court to force Nzili out.

He said the SG will also appeal a decision by the trade union registrar blocking a by-election to choose Nzili's successor.

"He is armed with documents proving Nzili is in office unlawfully. One is supposed to leave after reaching 59.6 years. Nzili has done that."

Immediately after the stormy meeting at Forodhani Restaurant ended, an official of KNUT's Coast wing said Sossion will be ousted "immediately".

"If that 'immediately' is not understood in his dictionary, we will let him read that dictionary and know what it means," said spokesperson Tom Kitu.

"Nzili will reach age 60 on May16, 2018. For now status quo remains."

Officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers during their meeting at Forodhani Restaurant in Mombasa, November 14, 2017. /ERNEST CORNEL

Kitu said the secretary general must let his deputy Hezbone Otieno lead and that he will not force them into a by-election.

He said the SG is in office illegally because he is a government official. A section of union members say the constitution blocks Sossion from holding two public offices.

'NO FIGHTING'

Questioned about the wrangles while walking away, Sossion said: "There is no fighting. Did you see us fighting?"

Asked about the retirement debacle, he said: "We will talk to you at an appropriate time. We are at the Coast for four days."

Kitu said Sossion is acting ultra vires (beyond powers) after appointing deputy chairman Wycliff Omucheyi as acting chair pending confirmation during the annual delegates conference. The ADC has been set for December 13-14.

"He has acted in a segregative manner and as an appointing officer," he said.

More on this: Omuchei to take over as KNUT chairman after Mudzo Nzili's exit

The spokesperson further noted the national steering office did not sit to ratify Nzili's replacement.

"Where there is disagreement, the national executive council is called to give direction. In that case, these organs were not consulted."

LABOUR MINISTRY BARS REPLACEMENT 

In a statement on Tuesday, the Labour ministry stopped Kenya National Union of Teachers from replacing its two top officials next month.

On behalf of the labour commissioner, Hellen Apiyo said the ministry had received objections from Nzili and his deputy Samson Kaguma. They said they are yet to attain the mandatory retirement age of 60 years.

"In light of the above and having referred to the union's constitution, it would be unlawful to proceed with the by-elections scheduled for December 14, since the positions are not yet vacant."

 

The union was directed to seek further direction on the matter from the registrar of trade unions.

Controversy surrounding Nzili's retirement took a twist on Monday after he demanded Sossion's resignation.

The turn of events has exposed a deepening supremacy contest between the leaders of the Kenya National Union of Teachers.

Sossion and Nzili's power struggle dates back to 2013 following the death of the then secretary general Fred Outa. 

It had been expected that Nzili would take over as he had been the deputy Sossion, was as national chairman at the time, resigned and insisted on squaring it out with Nzili in a by-election. He won. 

Sossion said it is mandatory for senior KNUT officers to take a six-month terminal leave prior to their retirement.

Read: Showdown looms in KNUT as Nzili demands Sossion’s resignation

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