Teachers unions on Thursday waged a war against a female teachers’ lobby as the battle for billions of shillings contributed as membership fees intensified.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) took the row over membership in the Kenya Women Teachers Association (Kewota) to the Ethnics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) also took action, asking its members to keep off the lobby.
Knut’s Secretary-General Wilson Sossion asked the EACC and the DCI to investigate officials at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for allegedly colluding with Kewota to recruit teachers without their knowledge.
“It has come to our notice that the TSC has illegally executed check-off deductions of Sh200 per female teacher from 58,000 teachers who did not at all authorise their deductions,” Mr Sossion said in a letter to the agencies dated June 20.
He said the union had also established that the commission auto-loaded programmes to automatically deduct the money, without the approval of the teachers and in collusion with Kewota officials.
Kuppet’s acting Secretary-General Moses Nturima alleged that members were recruited and deductions made with the blessing of the TSC, which he claimed had vested interests.
“The deductions are illegal and constitute economic crimes against affected teachers on the part of the employer,” he said.
The TSC was not immediately available for comment on Knut and Kuppet’s claims.
Kewota’s National Treasurer Jacinta Ndegwa denied the allegations, saying the teachers joined the union of their own volition.
“Teachers are joining the women’s lobby group without force. They are looking at the benefits,” said Ms Ndegwa.
The teachers are also battling for millions of shillings that non-government organisations channel to unions for the support of gender-based activities across the country.
The government appears ready to work with associations which seem non-confrontational since the officials are usually officers in the public service.