By David Karani
The government has moved to crack the whip on trade union officials elected or nominated to parliament by directing them to immediately vacate their positions.
Those set to lose their trade union positions include the combative KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion and KUPPET chairman Omboko Milemba who have been directed to vacate their positions as union officials with immediate effect.
In a gazette notice dated December 11, 2017, Labour CS Phyllis Kandie said the two are among trade union officials who must leave office as they are now state officials by way of nomination and election to Parliament respectively.
Sossion was nominated to Parliament by ODM party while Milemba won the Emuhaya MP seat on the ANC ticket in the August 8 general election.
“This notification to vacate office applies to all trade union officials holding either nominated or elective positions in any county assembly or Parliament,” Kandie said.
Article 77 of the constitution restricts full time state officers from holding alternative positions of gainful employment.
Also affected by the gazette notice is the Union of Kenya Civil Servants secretary general Tom Odege who was elected MP for Nyatike constituency.
Others are Bungoma woman representative Catherine Wambilianga (KUPPET gender secretary), Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui (KUPPET Executive Secretary, Bomet Branch) and Richard Cheserem (Baringo Kuppet secretary).
Kericho women county representative Florence Bore (Kericho Kuppet secretary), Stanley Kiptis (Knut executive secretary, Baringo) and Nyeri governor Edward Kahiga (Knut executive secretary, Nyeri Branch) have also been ordered to vacate their respective union positions.
John Mwamusi and Mulei Mwalowa have also been put on notice by the CS.
Last month, Sossion attempted to purge KNUT leadership by sending the chairman Mudzo Nzili on a mandatory six-month terminal leave pending his retirement in May 2018. But the chairman defied the directive arguing it was null and void as Sossion was not an official of the giant teachers’ union after taking up an ODM nomination to parliament.