Teachers barred from the electoral process

Teachers are one of the largest group of civil servants in Kenya.

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The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has barred all teachers from being recruited as Presiding Officers, Polling Clerks or even as support electoral trainers by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

TSC also bars teachers from servicing as party agents arguing they should remain apolitical.

Fiery Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion has however in the past few weeks clearly engaging in politics and has even been attending the National Super Alliance (NASA) political rallies.

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that Sossion may be nominated to parliament by the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) hence the reason for his clear bias for NASA.

The IEBC is seeking to recruit 359,958 officials to manage the August 8 general election.

Positions available include 262,665 polling clerks, 91,032 presiding and deputy presiding officers, and 5,054 support electoral trainers.

The electoral agency also needs 580 county ICT clerks, 337 logistics officers, and 290 deputy returning officers.

According to a notice, the officials will get a minimum contract of nine days and a maximum of 30 days depending on the capacity they will be serving in.

Critics have however argued that barring teachers from participating in the electoral process is akin to denying them their rights of association which is protected by the constitution.

Teachers are one of the largest group of civil servants in Kenya and also relatively organized therefore they do play a critical role in Kenya’s politics and may even decide who will become the winner.

According to a survey conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, there are 210,991 public primary school teachers in 2015.

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