Health Ministry has advised the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to put on hold the Special Delegates Conference (SDC) meeting that was set for this Saturday until the COVID-19 situation is under control.
Exactly 1,878 delegates were expected to participate in an in-person poll as opposed to a virtual exercise. Nomination papers were set to be delivered to officers from the Ministry of Labour on the 25th of June.
110 branches of KNUT tasked with preparing and validating a list of delegates for the Special Delegates Conference (SDC) had sent it to the union headquarters on June 18.
4 top branch leaders – Executive secretary, chairperson, treasurer, and woman representative – had been given automatic tickets to the Special Annual Delegates Conference (ADC).
Branch executive committee members were set to take other slots. Ordinary members would be included as delegates in case of addition.
According to Ministry officials, there is widespread Community transmission of Covid-19 in the country with a surge of cases in the past few weeks in certain regions.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Susan Mochache with the recent global emergence of new highly transmissible SARS-Cov-2 variants and a surge of cases in some countries, Kenya remains a high risk of resurgence of cases and deaths.
Mochache urged Knut to put on hold the proposed in-person conference until the situation is under control and the risk of transmission has gone down substantially.
“Knut may wish to consider adopting a hybrid conference with only key participants numbering not more than fiftenn (15) persons attending physically while the rest attend through virtual platforms,” advised Mochache in a letter dated 18th June 2021 addressed to Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
Following the directive by the Sossion has communicated to all Knut Branch Executive Secretaries notifying them that there will be no physical elections that will involve more than fifteen members.
“We regret to inform you that the Ministry of Health has advised against a physical meeting and recommended that either the meeting be put on hold until the current Covid-19 situation is brought under control or alternatively we proceed with the conference through a hybrid model limiting to a maximum of 15 persons participating in person and all the others virtual,” Sossion said in the notice.
Acting national chairman Collins Oyuu will face off Sossion in the polls following Kericho branch executive secretary Stanley Mutai dropped out and resolved for the first national vice chairman seat.
New officeholders with 11 positions at the national steering level will be filled plus 44 NEC positions that are up for grabs.
KNUT is currently in financial crisis following its dispute with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that saw its membership numbers and dues dwindled to Ksh35 million a month from Ksh147 million two years ago.
Mr Sossion had earlier stated that the union requires Ksh100 million to fund the election. Consequently, KNUT is looking up to international trade unions and organisations to finance the national election.
Branch officials and union workers have gone without pays for more than a year while some offices have been closed due to rent areas. Others are facing an auction from landlords following a sharp reduction in membership dues.
18 branch executive committee members in Bomet have already rallied behind Sossion to retain his seat.
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