The differences between the government and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) is a long-time issue that is mainly influenced by payment disagreements.
In the continued disagreements, various leaders in the union have rubbed the government the wrong way which hasn't come without consequences.
Former Knut boss Stephen Kioni was jailed in 1969 after an accusation that he stole Ksh 5,000 that was supposed to be banked by union's Murang’a Branch.
In an article by The Standard, Kioni led a fundraiser which raised Ksh5,000 meant to benefit teachers in the region. He, however, deposited it into his account rather than handing it over to the union’s treasurer, Isaac Nzioka as stipulated in the regulations.
Nzioka reported the incident to the Murang’a region criminal investigations department which took action.
After his arrest and prosecution, the courts found him guilty of the charges and jailed him for nine months.
The exit of Kioni from Knut paved way for the election of Ambrose Adeya Adongo, who would steer the giant union for the next 30 years until his death in March 2001.
Adongo is remembered as a legend among teachers after he led the 1997 teachers’ strike, that demanded, among other things, a 300% salary increment for all teachers.
Kioni had served as a tutor at Kilimambogo Teachers College but gave up his teaching job in 1960 after citing oppression and mistreatment by his employer and the colonial government.
The suffering motivated a former teacher-cum politician, Daniel arap Moi, who had just been elected a Member of the Legislative Council, to propose the formation of African Teachers Association in December 1956.
With the passing of the bill tabled by Moi, then-Minister of Education in the colonial government WF Coutts called all the leaders of the various regional associations for a meeting in December 1957 at Pumwani DEB School.
It is at the Pumwani meeting that the regional associations were dissolved and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) was formed.
The conference formed an interim central executive committee, with Ignatius Mkok as interim president and Kioni interim secretary general.
On December 10, 1958, the union’s constitution was ratified and the teachers elected Samwel Ayany as president whereas Kioni was confirmed as secretary general. A year later, the union was registered by the government as a trade union.
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