From: Onyango Oloo
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Subject: Open Appeal to President Mwai Kibaki on the UASU Strike
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
His Excellency The Hon. Mwai Kibaki C.G.H., M.P.
Tel. 02 227411
My name is Onyango Oloo and I am a Kenyan living here in
I write to you with the utmost concern at the manner your government is handling the ongoing strike called by members of the University Academic Staff
According to information I just gleaned this evening (Wednesday, October 25, 2006) from the state-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation web site:
“…The Universities Academic Staff union- UASU, leadership has suffered a major blow after key union officials including the National Chairman Dr. Sammy Kubasu and Secretary general Muga K'Olale and four others were sacked. In
This callous act of intimidation flies in the face of pronouncements by leading government officials that your administration has expanded the democratic space since NARC came to power four years ago. The draconian methods employed to quell the justified job action smack more of the strong arm tactics of the Moi-KANU dictatorship.
I appeal to you to intervene directly at your earliest discretion to avert an even deeper national crisis.
History has proved over and over and over again that state intimidation, malicious prosecutions, kangaroo courts and unfair jail terms can never thwart those who resolutely fight for democratic and human rights.
Workers in this country have a right to a living wage and decent work conditions. Workers in this country deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Most civilized and democratic societies recognize the long cherished right for workers to strike, as a weapon for safeguarding their labour rights.
Members of the University Academic Staff Union have clearly delineated their concerns. They have appealed for structured discussions, open dialogue and principled negotiations in trying to resolve their claims for better pay and better working conditions.
Your minister in charge of labour, Dr. Newton Kulundu has arrogantly decided to use fascist methods to try and break the back of the UASU strike. Today the various universities have followed suit by firing the duly elected representatives of the University Academic Staff Union.
Dear President, members of the University Academic Staff Union provide very crucial services to this nation. Without them, the future of this country hangs on a precipice.
They do deserve better pay than they are currently earning.
They do deserve to be listened to.
Most likely the majority of them voted for this very government of yours that is today treating them as crooks and terrorists.
Dear President, the measures that are being taken to thwart the demands of the UASU are likely to back fire.
One of the most immediate consequences will be to worsen the brain drain which will see many of
Dear President, you were elected with a huge popular mandate to deepen the tenets of democracy, entrench a human rights culture and promote national harmony in
As you well know, the UASU suffered very much under the previous regime.
Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, who now serves your government as the assistant minister in charge of education was, not too long ago, the Secretary General of the very same University Academic Staff Union. Is there any twinge in his conscience when he witnesses how his own government is treating his successor in the same post?
Let me end my letter by appealing to you to exercise leadership by directly intervening to restore a sense of sanity in the way your government is dealing with the UASU crisis.
It is my hope, for the sake of peace, democracy, civility, justice and stability in this country that you will do the right thing for