At some point, we’re compelled to make decisions by the situations we are in. Some agonizing while others are agreeable. Wilson Sossion too had to pick on one; a take that saw him shed tears probably indicating how frustrated he was.
After the demise of former KNUT secretary- general, David Okuta Osiany in 2013, Sossion, a teacher then at Tenwek High School, rose to the helm of the teachers’ union politics. It is during his time in office that KNUT had the longest teachers’ strikes in Kenya’s history
In July 2013, KNUT members downed their tools; classrooms closed and learners kept home after they sought a 300% pay rise and responsibility allowance. The industrial action which took 12 days was rescued by Deputy President William Ruto. Moreover, on September 1, 2015, the tutors again flocked the streets wanting their unheard pleas to be attended to. This time around, KUPPET, sister union to KNUT, was also in the game. The government had refused to adhere to the Supreme Court verdict that ordered teachers to be given at least a 50% increment in their salaries.
In 2013, the court ruled that the strike was illegal but Sossion’s soldiers kept defiant until their say got a listening ear. On the other hand, on September 25, 2015, the government got relief after the court asked teachers to return to classes for 90 days after a three-week standstill and stalemate. These two form part of what made Sossion the voice of the teachers when he shouted to the top of his voice in demanding their rights.
When he joined the teaching fraternity, it is said Sossion never wanted to be part of KNUT and its affairs. Fellow teachers however convinced him to join thereafter urging him to vie for union’s positions in elections.
In 2002 teachers in his support donated a bicycle then later a motorbike for him to traverse the current Bomet County but he wasn’t successful in the then elections. The following year 2001, though faint-hearted, teachers convinced him to run for elections and assured him of support. Fortunately, this time round he triumphed with a landslide. A move that greatly changed his destiny was his election into the union’s executive council.
The father of three is known to be outspoken, and aggressive. As a result of his dynamic nature, he contested for the second vice chairperson of KNUT in 2007 upon the retirement of Joseph Chirchir. Sossion then climbed the ladder gradually to the first vice-chairperson and later the chair of the union.
However, being a secretary-general of the largest teachers’ trade union formed on December 4, 1957, hasn’t been a walk in the park for him. He engaged with the government on behalf of the KNUT members only for TSC to narrow down to him. He said the government has openly provoked and frustrated teachers.
His resignation yesterday came in hours before the union’s national elections. Some members sought to oust him shamefully after he survived three attempts to remove him from the position he’s been holding. This is because so some claim he is the Jonah of the union resulting in the alarming reduction of members from 187,000 to 16,000. Furthermore, TSC de-registered his name from among the list of recognized teachers on July 29, 2019, because he had been given a slot as a nominated Mp in 2017. He suffered a huge blow after attempts to save himself from the move by TSC were thwarted by Justice Stephen Radido who dismissed his plea.
Sossion said his time is up in KNUT and had overgrown it hence now focusing on legislative duties. He however called upon KNUT for consultations and advice where need be. The tenure of the 52- year teacher has been characterized by a lot of confrontations. As he resigned, he called upon the government to release KNUT union dues now that he who was an impediment is out of office.