IT’s a good day for teachers after the Employment and Labour Relations Court intervened and handed a sweet reprieve for interdicted teachers, thanks to the Kenya National Union of Teachers(KNUT) Mwingi branch.
Twelve teachers represented by lawyer Joan Mati had joined the petition as interested parties while KNUT was represented by lawyer Morris Kimuli.
They had challenged the decision by TSC to interdict over 600 teachers.
The judge agreed to stop the disciplinary process and instead directed that TSC engage with the union within applicable laws and report back the progress of discussions on May 30 2019.
Kimuli and Mati told the judge the teachers are unfairly targeted due to their positions as union officials.
“The interested parties are presently on interdiction and have lost their privileges and cannot undertake their work as teachers and union officials,” Mati said.
The lawyer urged that court that unless the interdiction is lifted and the teachers restored to their positions, there is likelihood that their positions will be filled with other people.
“Based on the principle of fair administrative action, it is only fair and just that the constitutional issues raised herein be dealt in the first instance,” Kimuli added.
The judge concurred that no prejudice will be suffered by TSC that cannot be redressed if the interdiction is stayed.
Judge Byrum Ongayo also agreed that the petition raises serious and and fundamental Constitutional issues that may affect the livelihood and dignity of the teachers.
The court heard that casual letters have been generated instructing the interested parties, read teachers, to vacate their respective work stations and are therefore in danger of losing their salary for the month of may and ultimately being replaced.
“The interdiction of the teachers goes against Article 37 and Article 41 of the Constitution of Kenya and the first respondents has taken away this right and this court ought to pronounce itself on the same,” Kimuli submitted.
He said unless the court steps in the parties’ rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the constitution will be threatened and violated and they will suffer irreparable harm.
The court order now gives the interdicted teachers the green-light to resume their duties with immediate effect.
Recently, the TSC said 160 teachers from eight counties were interdicted by the commission for trying to disrupt the training which was to equip teachers on Competency Based Curriculum(CBC).
TSC said that the 160 have until May 26 2019 to write to their employer as they defend themselves or be fired.
Education CS George Magoha has said that his office will not deal with the interdiction of teachers who were against the Competency Based Curriculum.
The petitioners include Joseph Kyalo Kitangu, Musyimi Itunduu, Elizabeth Kavutha Musyimi, Paul Mule Mbaluka, Alexander Peter Ngulutu, Thomas Mueeni Muthengi, Micahel Mbuti, Irene, Mwathi Kivunzi, Sarah Mwikali Katheku, Eunice Keli wambua, Onesmus Kimanzi Nzau and Emmanuel Savuli.