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Ministry throws a lifeline to Knut chair Nzili in ouster bid

Knut chairman Mudzo Nzili and secretary-general Wilson Sossion during a press briefing earlier this year. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG
Knut chairman Mudzo Nzili (left) and secretary-general Wilson Sossion during a press briefing earlier this year. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG 

Embattled Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) chairman Mudzo Nzili on Tuesday got a lifeline after the Ministry of Labour stopped his ouster.

Mr Nzili’s deputy, Samson Kaguma, was also allowed to continue serving until he attains the retirement age of 60 years.

The two had been granted six months mandatory terminal leave last week by secretary-general Wilson Sossion ahead of their retirement.
Mr Kaguma was expected to retire on April 2 while Mr Nzili’s term was to end on May 16.

But in a letter to Mr  Sossion dated November 14, Ms Hellen Apiyo, on behalf of Labour Commissioner said the Ministry had received

objections from Mr Kaguma and Mr Nzili who claimed they are yet to attain the mandatory retirement age as stipulated by the union constitution.

“In light of the above and having referred to Article 18(c) of the union constitution, it would be unlawful to proceed with the planned by-elections scheduled for December 14, since the positions are not yet vacant,” said the Labour commissioner.

Details on Mr Kaguma’s and Mr Nzili’s ages were not disclosed.

The union was directed to seek further details on the matter from the Registrar of Trade Unions.

Mr Wickliffe Omucheyi had on Sunday been appointed to replace Mr Nzili.

Mr Sossion Tuesday hit back at the ministry: “The Ministry of Labour cannot purport to run trade unions. The union must be allowed be allowed to engage in their activities within their constitution,” said Mr Sossion, adding that Mr Nzili should direct his complaint to the union and not government.

Trouble at the union started on November 7 when Mr Nzili wrote to Mr Sossion asking him to vacate office following his nomination as ODM legislator in August.

“Bro Wilson, on August 31, you were sworn into National Assembly, by the Clerk Sialai. Having served in the union for a considerable period of time, you are well aware that as a matter of common practice and custom, the union does not mix national party politics with teacher’s professional issues, because Knut is a professional union,” said the chairman in the letter.

Mr Nzili had appointed Hesborn Otieno as acting secretary-general while Collins Oyuu was named as deputy secretary-general.

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