The court has nullified elections of officials of the lecturers union of Kenyatta University after 147 members complained that they had been locked out of the process.
Justice James Rika of the Employment and Labour Court ruled that the elections for the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu), KU chapter, which were held in March this year, were not fair because the officeholders left out some members against the advice of the Registrar of Trade Unions.
“It is obvious that the process and outcome did not conform to the chapter’s own constitution, the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act. The incumbents rejected the counsel of its own election board and the registrar, resulting in disenfranchising of legitimate members,” the judge said.
Justice Rika noted that the officials closed the office on December 17, depriving members who wished to update their subscription their right to do so, thus blocking them from participating in elections.
The judge said an electoral process that does not meet high standards of democracy risks being reversed irrespective of the outcomes. He said no candidate could claim success under a flawed approach.
“Trade unions must embrace the democratic culture and move with the rest of the country, under the Constitution. When trade unions embrace the democratic culture, they merit greater institutional freedom of association, with less legislative intrusion,” he said.
Four lecturers –Frankline Kaburu Kinoti, Cripsus Koinange, Anthony Wanyonyi and Moses Opiyo– moved to court to have the elections annulled because 147 members had been excluded from the voters’ register.
The court heard that the secretary-general ran away with the register after scrutiny, which was meant to confirm those who had paid agency fees.
Justice Rika directed the Registrar of Trade Unions not to register the March 25 poll results. He also said the voters’ register should be updated with the concurrence of UASU chairman KU chapter and Registrar of Trade Unions, ahead of fresh elections within 60 days.