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HomeKNUTKnut to close 63 branches As It Seeks To Increase Official's Retirement Age.

Knut to close 63 branches As It Seeks To Increase Official’s Retirement Age.

Knut to close 63 branches As It Seeks To Increase Official’s Retirement Age.

A squabble is brewing over Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials’ plans to close 63 branches, more than half of the country’s total.

A proposal to raise the retirement age for officials from 60 to 65 is also contentious.

The Knut chiefs also intend to remove from office any official who is elected to the county assembly, National Assembly, or Senate, or who is nominated to any of the county and national government legislative arms.

The union officials plan to push the constitutional changes through tomorrow during a meeting of the National Advisory Council (NAC) at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium.

“It is all systems go for the NAC meeting as we seek to rejuvenate the union structures after the new office-bearers took charge at the head office and in the branches,” Knut secretary-general Collins Oyuu said.

The 510 NAC delegates will be guided through the draft laws that will be considered for adoption later by the members of the Annual Delegates Conference (ADC).

The meeting follows an induction meeting for newly elected branch officials, which was held in Malindi from December 1 to 7. The proposed changes were unveiled at the retreat.

If the proposal is approved, the once-dominant Knut will be reduced to 47 offices based at county headquarters. Nairobi, Nyeri, Taita Taveta, Samburu, Laikipia, Nakuru, Turkana, and Trans Nzoia branches will not be affected by the realignment because they were not split.

The majority of counties, which were originally organized as districts, have been divided into three or four branches with fewer than 1,000 members each over the last 20 years under Knut’s representation structure.

When Mr Oyuu’s team took over as Knut’s leadership in June, the union signed a new recognition agreement with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that proposes reducing the number of branches to 47 by 2026.

“We want to restore order in the union, streamline branches and operations at the headquarters so that we can better serve our members and respond to current challenges and dynamics,” Mr Oyuu said.

If the proposal is approved, hundreds of branch employees, as well as branch officials, will lose their jobs, while the union’s representation of teachers will be reduced.

“Reduction of branches from 110 to 47 means that 63 branch executive secretaries will lose their jobs,” said a national official who did not want to be named. The plan to increase the retirement age would benefit some of the top officials who are expected to retire.

Mr. Oyuu, like National Chairman Patrick Karinga, will be 58 in May of next year. Mercy Muthoni Ndung’u, the Second National Woman Representative, is 58, and Stanley Mutai, the First National Vice-Chairman, will turn 60 next year.

Some officials are already opposed to the scheme, seeing it as a plot to prevent them from rising to higher positions. Another proposed change is to formalize the National Steering Committee, which has been operating improperly for decades. It is made up of three top national officials and a female representative.

Prohibiting officials from holding parliamentary seats is seen as a way to end the protracted battle that afflicted former Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, who was nominated to the National Assembly by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). The TSC eventually removed him from the list of teachers.

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“Please refrain using unorthodox means to mutilate Knut constitution. Amending the Knut constitution using the NEC and NAC shall be unconstitutional and attract [a lawsuit]. Extension of retirement age is not only selfish but dangerous!” Mr Sossion wrote.

He claimed that despite being national union officials, officials of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers—Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba (national chairman), Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui (assistant national treasurer), and Bungoma Woman Representative Catherine Wambilianga (national woman representative)—were not targeted by TSC.

Knut to close 63 branches As It Seeks To Increase Official’s Retirement Age.


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