The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has directed its employees to immediately desist from engaging in political activities.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Machari has issued a circular, saying that any employee who currently holds a political office or engages in politics is doing so, in violation of the law and is liable to disciplinary action.
Macharia directed that any employee involved in politics should immediately resign from that office.
“In congruence with the spirit of national values and good governance under the Constitution which includes impartiality and political neutrality, it is vital for all employees of the commission, to adhere to strict observance of the law in respect by abstaining from taking part in political engagements,” said Dr Macharia, in its latest circular.
“In this regard, all employees of the commission are directed to shun partisan political activities while in active public service. Further, any breach of the directions of this circular will result in disciplinary action,” she added.
She addressed the circular to TSC Headquarters directors, Regional Directors, County and Sub-County Directors, Principals of colleges and high schools, head teachers and commission employees.
She also said TSC employees should refrain from publicly indicating support for or opposition to any political party in an election.
“All county directors are hereby directed to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all the officers and teachers serving under them.
Likewise, all institutional heads are equally directed to bring the contents of this circular to all teachers and to post the same on school or staffroom notice boards for ease of reference by teachers,” directed Macharia.
But in a rejoinder, Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the circular is uncalled for, frightening and a total abuse of the law especially at this time when Kenyans are burning the midnight oil to reform the Constitution through Building Bridges Initiative.
“Calling on teachers to abstain from taking part in political engagements and accordingly, shun national political activities amounts to gross violation of the fundamental rights of teachers,” said Sossion, in a response letter to Macharia.
Sossion also said the circular lacks vision and is not grounded on any law.
He said TSC should not misinterpret Article 77(2) of the Constitution with the aim of stifling political rights of teachers, adding that no teacher is holding or aspiring to hold party post.
But Macharia has since responded to Sossion saying that the positions he set out in his letter are not tenable both in law and fact.
“Please be advised that the commission will not rescind its circular as demanded by your union,” said Macharia, in a letter dated December 8.