By Henry Wanyama
A furious Knut boss Wilson Sossion yesterday hinted he might quit and boycotted an important briefing about a State House deal with teachers.
The move has thrown the union into confusion because Sossion is the chief executive, without whom no decision can have legal effect.
Chairman Mudzo Nzili led the national steering committee to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday to resolve a salary award dispute against Sossion’s blessings.
The move has triggered an unprecedented crisis.
Nzili and the executive committee sent word to Sossion to show up at Knut headquarters but he declined.
Answering a question, Sossion told reporters: “I am off duty today, I cannot go to the office to be briefed. I am not aware of the meeting. I am on leave and so I cannot answer your queries. There are people in the office who can best attend to those issues you are raising.”
On Tuesday, Kenyatta invited top Knut and TSC chiefs and directed that the teachers’ September pay be released.
He also directed TSC and Knut to withdraw all cases in court over the dispute so that talks on a new CBA to cover four years could be kick-started and completed within a month.
An official who attended the State House meeting said: “Consultations with State House started in earnest on Friday, after the Court of Appeal dismissed a 50-60 percent award made by the Industrial Court in June.”
He went on: “We were of the opinion we need to find a way forward since we had put up a good fight against government. But Sossion disagreed with us as we proceeded for the meeting at around 5pm. He wants the union to appeal at the Supreme Court.”
Uhuru is said to have told Knut officials that there was nowhere else they could go because he was in charge.
The official said Uhuru chided them for seeking help from Cord’s M-Pesa paybill drive.
Yesterday, on the WhatsApp Knut Rift Valley Region group, Sossion threatened to quit the union, saying: “I should quit. I have endured enough and seen enough.”
A tweet from his account said: “I have asked the NT (National Treasurer)/NC (National Chairman) to calculate and prepare my benefits.”
Yesterday Nzili was at pains to cover up the cracks in the union as a result of the meeting and denied Sossion had boycotted the briefing session.
Nzili said: “He is supposed to be briefed by his deputies, not me.”
He said Sossion’s stance over a Supreme Court appeal was personal, not a union position.
“He must follow what the union has decided. This does not mean we have cracks in the union.
“We have had a similar tussle with Sossion about who should be secretary general: The union did not split.”
Nzili was accompanied to State House by members of the steering committee John Matiang’i (treasurer), Hesbon Otieno (deputy secretary), Wycliffe Omucheyi (vice-chairman) and two women’s representatives – Dorothy Muthoni and Jacinta Ndegwa.
This article was first published by the Star