KNPG Teachers Expose TSC’s Silencing Tactic Of Transfers And Interdictions.
The TSC has been accused of using punitive administrative actions to silence two top members of a splinter union.
Members of the Kenya National Pressure Group (KNPG) reaffirmed their claim that the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) had become subservient to the TSC and were no longer advocating for teachers’ interests.
The group has been vocal in its opposition to AON Minet’s teachers’ medical scheme, as well as the rollout of the Teachers Professional Development (TPD) program.
Last month, two KNPG officials were arrested: women’s representative Eva Muchemi and the group’s chairperson Kinyua Mwangi.
The interdiction letter for Ms Muchemi is dated December 28, while Mr Mwangi’s is dated December 17. Ms Muchemi is accused of dereliction of duty, while Mr Mwangi is accused of immoral behavior.
Ms Muchemi was interdicted for failing to report to Ilkerin Laita Primary School in Narok South after being transferred from Plainsview Primary School in Nairobi on December 2, 2021, according to a letter from TSC signed by Director of Field Services Mary Rotich on behalf of the CEO, Dr Nancy Macharia.
Mr Kinyua’s interdiction letter accuses him of sexually assaulting a Form Four student at Suswa Girls Secondary School, which he denies. The case is still being heard in court.
The commission was given 21 days from the date of interdiction to file a defense statement.
Ms Muchemi told the Nation yesterday that their employer was using cruel measures to silence the group for exposing the plight of teachers in relation to the current medical scheme and the TPD, which requires teachers to pay Sh6,000 annually and study for 30 years.
Teachers must also renew their licenses every five years, according to the program. The program began on December 28 in four selected institutions.
“I am moving to court for protection and stay orders regarding my transfer. At 55 years, the employer should not be transferring me to far-flung areas. I was moved from Nairobi to Narok beyond Lake Magadi, yet I have served as a teacher faithfully for 36 years,” said Ms Muchemi.
Ms Muchemi, who has been vocal about rising rates of suicide, depression, and mental illnesses in the teaching profession, believes the TSC should take a teacher’s age and health into account before transferring them.
“I reported to the county director that I was sick and awaiting surgery, so I could not travel back. I have also furnished them with details of my medical history,” she said, adding that she was preparing to file a defence statement against her interdiction.
Mr Mwangi told the Nation that on the same day he was arrested, he was also given a transfer letter. He was later served with an interdiction letter.
Last week, KNPG officials told the press in Nakuru that the TSC was on a mission to punish and silence them.
The teachers claimed that the two major unions had abandoned them. Since then, the TSC has denied using punitive measures to silence the teachers.
“We appealed against our transfers because the manner in which they came was questionable, but we have all received regrets. We shall move to court to challenge those transfers,” said KNPG spokesperson Martha Omollo.
Collins Oyuu, secretary-general of Knut, has previously described the KNPG as an unregistered group with no legal standing to advocate for teachers’ rights.
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The Registrar of Trade Unions denied a request to register two teachers’ splinter groups.
Last year, the TSC arrested 97 teachers, 43 in April and 52 in August, and their names were published in the Kenya Gazette.
The teachers were arrested for a variety of offenses ranging from sexual assault to failure to report for duty.