Matiang’i blamed for blocking Atwoli’s honorary degree

Francis Atwoli
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli

Nominated Member of Parliament Wilson Sossion has accused Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i of being behind the decision to cancel plans to award COTU boss Francis Atwoli an honorary degree by Masinde Muliro University.

The university was set to award Mr. Atwoli a Doctorate in Labour Relations degree on Friday, December 15, during the university’s 12th annual graduation ceremony in honour of his role as head of the labour movement in Kenya.

The university, however, reversed its decision to award Atwoli an honorary degree without giving any reasons.

In a letter to Dr. Matiang’i, Mr. Sossion, who is also the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General, suggested that the Education CS had interfered with the process to fete Atwoli.

“I post my disappointment at the move taken by you (CS Matiang’i) to cancel the scheduled conferment of the award to Mr. Atwoli. In the same breath, I join other Kenyans with sound minds to demand in no equivocal terms that Mr. Atwoli be honoured as approved by the university council and senate come December 15,2017,” said Sossion.

“It is really disturbing for the Ministry of Education, which is charged with the responsibility of protecting educational institutions’ and to operate independently, to interfere with the day-to-day running of universities,” he added.

On November 5, 2017, Masinde Muliro University ran an advert in a local daily headlined “Proposed Award and Proposed Conferment of Honorary Degree of Doctors in Humane Letters (Labour Relations)” giving reasons for the Award including a mention of Atwoli being one of the founders of the University.

On Sunday, Mr. Atwoli expressed his surprise at the move to cancel the plans to award him saying: “I was excited when I received the communication but the university has been forced to cancel the plan.”

Atwoli was speaking at a fundraiser at the Eshimbi ACK Church in Butere, Kakamega County.

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