BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,25TH JUNE,2021-Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion Friday resigned after three years of leadership conflict.
The union boss in a press conference at the Windsor Hotel in Nairobi said “he has outgrown the Kenya National Union of Teachers,” and will focus on articulating workers’ issues through his parliamentary post.
Sossion’s resignation comes hours to the Knut election scheduled for Saturday at Ruaraka Sports Grounds in Nairobi.
It will mark nine active years of service at the helm of Knut first as a chairman before taking over the powerful Secretary-General role which also doubles as the union’s spokesman.
Sossion in his resignation speech said he was ready to pave the way at the union if it would allow the Teachers Service Commission to smoothly remit union dues.
During his announcement of his resignation, Sossion praised his achievements during the time he served at Knut.
“I shall remain loyal to Knut and always be available to advise and support the leadership,” he said.
Sossion said Knut members deserved credit for the restrain and sobriety they have shown in the face of open provocation and frustrations by the government.
The elections slated for tomorrow had sharply divided the union top officials with a section seeking to oust Sossion.
They blame him for the misfortunes that have befallen the union in the last three years and seen its membership drop from an all-time high of 187,000 to 16,000.
With the few remaining members, Sossion still had to weather an internal rebellion. He survived three attempts to remove him.
Sossion’s nomination by the Orange Democratic Party to Parliament also stirred controversy, with the tutors’ employer leading a protracted battle to deregister him.
When it couldn’t outmuscle Sossion, the Teachers Service Commission devised means to decimate his influence by refusing to remit members’ union dues.
TSC further cancelled the union’s recognition agreement in 2019 and stalled promotion for Knut members.
For the first time, the union last year failed to hold its annual delegates conference and Sossion said it was due to lack of funds.
On Saturday elections, the secretary-general was set to face off with acting national chairman Collins Oyuu.
Sossion’s chances of retaining his seat in the upcoming union elections appeared slim after members from different regions rejected his bid.
According o the Star newspaper,the chairman of branch officials from the Nyanza region Samuel Omwaga had on Thursday told the publication that they will seek change to revive the union.
Omwaga said that he had earlier led a delegation to Sossion’s home to appeal to him to “allow sanity to prevail”.
“We have 110 branches across the country. These branches have not received any money in the last two months yet they have permanent staff and other bills to pay. Maybe if Sossion exits things will get better,” Omwaga said.
Sossion, 5o, has amplified the voice of teachers for nearly a decade, but it was feared that he could be losing grip.
His critics argue that his hardline stance is the cause of woes facing teachers.
The graduate of Egerton University first came into the limelight as a regional union official in Bomet on April 27, 2001.
In 2007, Sossion won the seat of the second vice national chairman and went on to be elected Knut first national vice chairman, before being elected as the union’s chairman in 2011.
His rise to national leadership is attributed to his eloquence and abrasive demeanour.
Those familiar with Sossion’s rise say former Knut trade unionist Francis Ng’ang’a nurtured and kept him close.
Sossion’s daring courage and passion to confront matters head-on gave him an upper hand.
With time, he outshone then secretary-general Okuta Osiany as the official spokesperson.
He drove the message they sought to pass across home whenever they addressed the media.