Following the teachers’ strike that many say was in vain, teachers across the country are up in arms against their national union officials whom they now accuse of having deceived them into participating in an unprotected industrial action that never bore any fruit.
According to sources within the teaching fraternity, teachers have lost confidence in the Knut leadership and are working on a formula that will eventually see them leave Knut House in the December 2016 union elections.
Those behind the scheme are working on an amendment of Knut constitution Articles XVII (Amendments and Alterations of Articles) that will see national officials elected by all teachers as opposed to the current system where delegates gather to elect them. They want Knut to adopt the same system used by the Law Society of Kenya in electing national officials of their union.
Teachers now propose that election of national officials be held at the branch level on the same day with a tallying centre in place, conducted and supervised by a contracted independent body like the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Teachers will then have to cast their votes at branch level and by close of voting, results per branch sent to the national tallying centre for authentication purposes. To end an anticipated rigging by the incumbent officials, teachers say the register of all Knut teachers eligible to vote must be made available for inspection a week before the elections to avoid a repeat of what happened last year during a by-election in Nakuru in which Nairobi branch treasurer John Mbate was allegedly rigged out in favour of Hesbon Otieno where a fake delegates’ list was used.
Another amendment is that of fixing the office serving term limit for national office holders for a maximum of two-terms of five years or on attainment of mandatory retirement age. This is to avoid a situation whereby people cling to power even if they have run out of ideas.
Another amendment is to have the strike kitty managed by a fund’s manager and three trustees elected by the teachers as opposed to the current set up where the funds are managed by Knut House officials who are also the signatories.
The teachers now want to invoke Article XVII (1) statutes that all proposals for amendments shall be submitted to the secretary general not later than 60 days before the date of such annual delegates conference or special conference.
Back to the strike, we have information of a secret plot by top Knut officials that was to stagemanage a disruption of the press conference that called off the strike.
According to well-placed sources, a secret meeting by top Knut officials resolved that the forthcoming December by-elections for the position of deputy secretary general and assistant treasurer must be scuttled because candidates allied to them were facing serious humiliation and can only be saved if elections were postponed. Mbate is considered a front-runner and teachers across the country are rallying behind him.
Sources say a plot was hatched to have Nairobi teachers summoned to the press conference to heckle and jeer national officials before they could call of the strike pretending that teachers are opposed to the call-off the strike. This was to allow the strike to continue and that was to be a good reason for the head office to cancel the December elections based on lack of funds, a hostile and a non – conducive environment in which the elections could be held.