Uhuru says big ‘No’ to teachers’ pay demands
President Uhuru Kenyatta has yet again ruled out the possibility of the Government awarding teachers a salary increment.
This is despite an earlier court ruling directing the government to effect a salary increment for the teachers ranging between 50-60 percent.
In a televised speech from State House, Nairobi on Sunday evening, the President said:
“We cannot afford to hand our teachers a salary increment at the moment. I urge the teachers to reconsider their stance on the wage demand and resume work immediately.”
“It is wrong to hold our children hostage to wage demands,” he said and reiterated that working in the public sector was a service.
“I urge all teachers as parents, as public servants and as Kenyans to reconsider the matter and resume their duties,” said Mr Kenyatta, who was flanked by Deputy President William Ruto.
He also called for “sobriety” and urged teachers’ unions to present themselves truthfully to those who pay their wages. He denied allegations that the salary deal that teachers struck with the government in 1997 had not been paid in full. “This amount has been settled,” he said.
President Kenyatta, who was flanked by his Deputy William Ruto, also asked the teachers’ union to handle the dispute sincerely and with sobriety.
The president’s speech was immediately criticized by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
“There is massive corruption in Government that has led to loss of billions and depreciation of the shilling. These are some of the monies that can pay teachers,” Sossion said in a telephone interview with NTV.
This development sets the stage for another round of battle between the Government and Knut even after the government ordered the closure of all public and private school as result of the row.