Nurses launch fresh bid to oust union secretary general Seth Panyako

By Mourice Seretta

Nurses representatives meeting in Kitui town on Wednesday called on the Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary general Seth Panyako to yield to new elections for fresh office bears.

That declaration, they said represents the views of behalf of over 27,000 members of the giant nurses’ union.

Former Machakos County nurses representative Halima Adan who is running to out Panyako from the position said the union is at the verge of collapsing due to bad imposed leadership.

Halima called for immediate elections of new officials adding that the current administration led by Seth Panyako has outlived its usefulness.

“Members are calling on the Registrar of Trade Unions to quash results emerging from an election that was conducted while there was a court forbidding the same to proceed,” she said.

Union members wondered why it did not bother the Registrar of Trade Unions that out of about 50 election centers, 38 centers had results showing officials who had been elected unopposed.

“Further even where officials were unopposed several incumbents were not listed in the returns, It was also observed from returns which curiously didn’t bother the Registrar that in a purported national elections several positions were returned blanks including the purported National Executive Council,” she said.  

The representatives said Kenyan nurses felt disappointed by the union registrar for accepting names from an election that had been stopped by a court order and boycotted by nurses.

“On the 26th of February in very few centers guarded by police they went ahead to conduct elections in utter disregard of an order stopping the elections, Halima said. She added that petitions to the office of the Registrar and the Ministry of Labour remain unanswered to date.

“We ask the Registrar of Trade Unions to act in good faith and save the nurses of this country from bad leadership. Her actions clearly demonstrate ineptitude of the highest order and supports impunity at the nurses’ union,” said the nurse’s representatives.

Nurses representatives addressing the media in Kitui on Wednesday. They appealed to KNUN’s National Secretary General Seth Panyako to call for National Elections so as new officials are elected.

They argued that the procedure of conducting the union elections was violated by the incumbent Mr. Seth Panyako. They said the incumbent introduced new rules to gain upper hand at the polls.

“He extracted rules from a controversial constitution whose case is live in the ELRC 681 of 2020. Panyako also desperately acted as the election board chair, overseer and a member of the board that has remained a secret to him and his handpicked officials,” they said.

The Halima-led team which is pushing for elections of new officials across all branches said they will not tire until an opportunity to conduct credible elections is offered.

“Nurses of this country got this union through the courts and we are back to the court again to be granted a chance to hold credible elections by an independent body devoid of interference by selfish leaders who are not after members’ interest. We shall not tire from seeking justice and accountability until credible elections are held,” they said.

Halima Adan on her part said she sympathizes with nurses who she said have suffered at the hands of leaders who have no idea of what is expected of them.

The representatives also hailed the Central organization of trade Unions (Cotu) for coming out strongly against the elections held in February saying they were dishonest and should be repeated.

“We wish thank Francis Atwoli for bringing out the impunity at the helm of our union. An audit must be conducted for us to know where and how our affiliation fee and other funds have been utilized,” they said.

They further promised to engage the Council of Governors, the cabinet Secretary for health and labor cabinet secretary with urging them to safeguard nurses’ interests and ensure credible elections are held.

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