Why Justice Radido upheld decision to permanently deregister Sossion

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion has been de-registered as a teacher.

The Employment and Labor Relations Court dismissed his attempt to save his position as a teacher within the corridors of justice after a similar attempt in 2019 flopped.

The decision by Justice Stephen Radido is a blow for a man who has been at the helm of the teachers’ union since 2016 and had already started plans for Knut national elections.

It, however, remains to be seen whether the latest judgement is the end of Sossion’s bittersweet career after years of a frosty relationship between the Knut and Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

In his judgement, Justice Radido held that the decision by TSC to deregister him as a teacher is distinct from the termination of his services as a teacher.

“Hon. Sossion did not directly challenge the process leading to the removal of his name from the register of teachers,” said Justice Radido.

In the suit, Sossion challenged the decision by TSC to remove him from the teachers’ register through a gazette notice.

The Knut Secretary-General had hoped that the court would declare the regulations his employer relied on to deregister him as null and void and inconsistent with Article 38 of the constitution.

He had sought nine order, including an order prohibiting TSC from removing him from the register of teachers as well as an order quashing the gazette notice that removed him from the register.

The Knut secretary-general had claimed that the decision by the teacher’s employer was in bad faith and was aimed at killing the education sector.

During the course of the proceedings, the Knut secretary-general told the court that his rights were violated when TSC decided to remove him from the teachers’ register.

He avered that the commission was on a mission to kill trade unionism by removing him from the teacher’s register.

“The real motive for the action of the Commission was to kill trade unionism in the education sector,” said Sossion.

In its defence, however, the commission said that it issued Sossion with a notice of removal from the register but the Knut boss declined to respond within 90 days.

Nancy Macharia, the TSC Chief Executive Officer, told the court through an affidavit that the removal of Sossion from the register was anchored in law, adding that she was not motivated by bad faith.

In his judgment, Justice Radido said that Sossion did not directly challenge the process leading to the removal of his name from the register. The judge determined that Sossion did not prove allegations of bad faith by the commission.

“The Petitioners did not prove the allegations set out in the Petition…The Petition is found without merit, and it is dismissed,” said Justice Radido.

Sossion’s woes with TSC worsened after he was nominated by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party after the elections. His employer TSC served him with a termination letter afterwards.

Last year, Sossion was also dealt a major blow after the Court of Appeal declined to suspend the Teachers Service Commission’s termination letter to Sossion.

Judges Martha Koome, Hannah Okwengu and Jamilla Mohammed said there was no need to suspend the TSC letter as Sossion can either be reinstated or compensated whenever the substantive case is determined.

The Knut secretary-general complained that the Nancy Macharia-led commission issued him with the termination letter despite knowing that he had challenged the same.

Sossion was employed as a teacher in 1993 and then elected Executive Secretary of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Bomet branch.

In March 2016, he was elected the Secretary-General of KNUT, then a year later, after the 2017 general elections, was nominated to the National Assembly by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to represent the interest of workers.

In December 2017, TSC issued a Notice of his Termination from the Teaching Service.

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