By MAZERA NDURYA firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted Wednesday, December 8 2010 at 22:33
Teachers on Wednesday appointed an acting secretary-general for their union. Mr David Okuta Osiany was endorsed to take over from Mr Lawrence Majali at the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).
The delegates also elected Mr Albanus Mutisya as acting treasurer in place of Mr Fred Ontere. They will be in office until elections in April.
However, the post of deputy treasurer, formerly held by Mr Benson Kithuku, which had also been declared vacant by the registrar of trade unions, was not filled after delegates resolved it remains so until the April elections.
But Mr Majali told a press conference that he was still the secretary-general until the end of March.
A letter from the registrar and signed by Mr W. K. Langat, indicated that the posts of secretary-general, national treasurer and vice treasurer were vacant after the occupants attained the mandatory retirement age of 60.
During the chaotic meeting at the Lohana Hall in Mombasa, Mr Majali tried to address delegates, but they shouted him down and demanded that he leaves the premises.
According to the programme, Mr Majali was to read the national executive council report, while Mr Fred Ontere was to present the financial report, but the delegates would hear none of it.
Instead, they asked Mr Osiany, who has been the deputy secretary-general, to take charge.
National chairman George Wesonga was also shouted down when he tried to plead with the delegates to let Mr Majali speak.
Mr Osiany said he was fully in charge and would assume office next week.
Mr Majali accused the government of interfering with the union’s affairs by deregistering the three officials, yet their term had not expired.
“We blame Mr Langat entirely for the chaos that saw me and the two other officials humiliated,” Mr Majali said.
A delegate said the conference was a flop because it merely dished out posts instead of looking at critical issues concerning teachers.
“It is a pity that even the national executive council report, which is the blueprint for the union’s activities in the coming year, was rubbished as people only concentrated on who takes what position,” Mr William Ohonde from Siaya said.
He cited the union’s position on the National Hospital Insurance Fund’s revised rates, the proposed scrapping of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations and the new Constitution among critical issues not discussed.
Mr Mutisya said the most pressing matter the new team will be addressing is the failure to pay Sh3.4 billion salary arrears that was due in July last year. Mr Wesonga’s term ends in April.