Previous Mt Elgon KNUT officials retain top seats in elections
The top seats in the hotly contested elections of Kenya National Union of Teachers KNUT Mt Elgon branch were retained by the previous officials after a long day exercise that was overseen by the national secretary of the union Wilson Sossion.
Stephen Chemonges trounced other five contestants to emerge the branch secretary as Kimtai William Cheptuch retained his position as the chairman, Regulas Bara Login was re- elected as the branch treasurer while Judith Ngaina as the branch women representative.
In his maiden speech the branch secretary elect Stephen Chemonges promised of bettering the officials’ service delivery to the teachers saying they will ensure the needs of teachers are addressed unto the latter as they will be aggressive to deliver on their mandate.
He disclosed that some politicians with vested interests had tried to interfere with the elections process through fronting some candidates but thanked teachers of the entire branch for having faith in their leadership and re electing them in their various positions saying it was a strong indicator that they cannot bow to certain political interests.
He further appreciated the efforts of the national executive secretary Wilson Sossion for having taken his time to oversee the election saying it has shown an example to the rest of the branches in the country that democracy is the only way to acquire proper leadership.
Sossion talks tough on govt
On his part the national executive secretary Wilson Sossion said the time the courts gave to the union and TSC to dialogue and have an agreement regarding the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will elapse on 27th February and the government has to bring up a good proposal by then.
“The CBA must have the 50%-60% salary increment and we will have to agree on how it will be spread across the years hence teachers should be optimistic that after the end of the branch elections better things are on the way” he said
He added that teachers have a right to take any action after that as the president himself and the courts had given a grace period for the union and TSC to agree and called upon teachers to get ready on any action saying if they strike it will be protected.
However Sossion cautioned teachers against signing any performance contract forms as proposed by the TSC saying it will bind them against promotions and other rights.
He said if the government wants to improve the education standards it must focus on improving the teachers’ pay as well as allocating more funds to the education sector to improve infrastructure in schools.
He called upon the education cabinet secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i to work in harmony with the union to have the education sector improved saying it is important for all the stakeholders to work together for the betterment of the children’s education.
“Privatization of education has compromised the quality of education and the CS should be able to crack the whip on this to have all the private institution uphold the basic minimum requirements needed to run a school” he said
He further called upon the government to have its priorities right by increasing education sector allocation in the budget noting that the NYS budget has been increased from 5 billion to 25 billion saying the education sector deserves the same increment.
Sossion expressed his disappointment by the government having struck of the unions deduction from the teachers pay slips saying the officials rights are being violated and will have to fight back using other means as the teachers are always on their side.
On the medical scheme Sossion faulted the NHIF increment in deductions saying they did not consult the relevant stakeholders before the effect yet the services at the hospitals have not been improved either.
Bungoma county government deputy speaker Jane Chebet who was present took the opportunity to urge teachers to front Wilson Sossion as a presidential candidate in the forthcoming general election saying he will be able to articulate well issues of teachers and other workers in the country.