Controversy is brewing within the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) following a move by a section of union officials to endorse Raila Odinga as their preferred presidential candidate.
The endorsement was announced on Tuesday during a meeting that saw over 100 UASU officials led by their secretary-general Constantine Wesonga meet the Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate.
Wesonga said UASU’s decision to back Raila was reached following ‘a deep analysis’ of all candidates eyeing the presidency in the upcoming poll.
The declaration has however not gone down well with a section of UASU officials in Uasin Gishu County.
According to Phillip Chebunet, a decision announced by Wesonga does not represent the position of all the lecturers in the country.
“Making general statements that all lecturers are supporting baba (Raila Odinga) is wrong,” Chebunet told journalists in Eldoret.
“UASU is an academic staff union and not a political staff union,” he added.
Chebunet who is also the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) member further described the Tuesday event as unfortunate.
“It was a sad day in the history of UASU that national officials can accompany ODM supporters to visit baba and purport to decide on behalf of the union that all dons support baba,” he said.
The unionist says all UASU members, just like any other Kenyan and members of other workers’ unions should be allowed to decide who they want to vote for in the August 9 poll.
“Everyone has his/her candidate and it is good for Kenyans to know that it was not Uasu that went to see baba but selfish individuals out to sell the union and to sell Uasu to the very selfish leaders,” noted Chebunet.
He pointed out that the best way Uasu should have handled the matter is by engaging other members to draft a memorandum on areas they hope should be addressed – which would then be handed over to the ODM leader, the same way other professional bodies have done.