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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 9 November 2014

KNUT POLITICS HOTS UP IN NYAMIRA

The Knut Annual Delegates Conference scheduled for early December this year for the election of the union’s national assistant treasurer has brought a lot of confusion with two candidates intensifying campaigns for the national executive council member held by Geoffrey Mogire who is likely to step down and retain his seat.
Close confidants of Mogire who has been in union politics for over 17 years have hinted that he will retain his seat following advice from retiring Richard Kibagendi during one of the Knut meetings in Luo Nyanza region.
This has caught Nyamira Knut branch chairman Kennedy Nyamwanda and women representative Cecilia Ondima who had started mobilising teachers to support them for the NEC seat since they wanted the post of assistant national treasurer to go to the Kisii region where Mogire and two other candidates Sam Nyairo and Margaret Obiri hail from.
It is not clear who between Mogire and Nyairo who is the Gucha Knut branch executive secretary and seen as a front runner is giving stiff competition to his Borabu branch counterpart John Matian’gi  who the duo are supporting.
Gusii region with eight branches is divided into two regions of Kisii and Nyamira which are counties led by  governors James Ongwae and John Nyagarama.
The Gusii region which has a memorandum of understanding with the Ukambnani region on the sharing of national treasurer and assistant national treasurer posts has the history of sharing the two national seats of NEC and treasurer positions and teachers are keen to keep the tradition going.
The present Knut national treasurer Albanus Mutisya comes from Ukambani while his assistant national treasurer Kibagendi hails from the Kisii region in Nyamira county.
Besides that, teachers say competence and ability to articulate the teachers’ issues should take centrestage in the kind of leader who should be elected to the national office to take over from the retiring Kibagendi.
A number of teachers’ representatives who were interviewed in the larger Nyanza region were emphatic about this factor and ruled out the sycophancy issue taking shape in the Knut head office.
It is interesting that Obiri who is vying for the seat comes from the same branch with Mogire of Kisii South where he was defeated during the 2011 elections by youthful Charles Mokua.
If Mogire makes up his final decision to retain his NEC seat and wait until 2017, it is likely that Matiang’i who comes from Nyamira region sails through in the race.
But Nyairo’s allies dismiss this and maintain that the tradition should end since their candidate has all the qualities required in the service of the Kenyan teachers who need a competent person.
Matiang’i who is serving his second term in office competed with Kibagendi during the 2011 elections where he was the sole challenger and lost
Nyairo  who comes from Gucha where former national treasurer Fred Ontere comes from was elected in 2011 having served from the position of branch executive committee member and is one of the volunteer leaders in the Kenya Red Cross Society.
However, teachers from Nyamira argue that since former national treasurers John Bosco Mboga and Ontere hailed from the Kisii region, Nyamira should be given a chance to complete Kibagendi’s term.