TEACHERS Friday, feb 2, 2019
By BONIFACE MULU
The idea to form a burial and benevolent fund under the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Kitui Branch was mooted in 1975, The Branch Executive Secretary Simon Mutunga Nding’o has said.
Mr Ndingo added that the idea was born out of the need for decent sendoffs for the teaching fraternity members in the changing socio-cultural economic setup. “However, the dream was not realized until 1977 when the first group of 300 teachers in Kitui District, now the Kitui County, registered as members.
The membership monthly contribution was ten shillings and the burial assistance was 2,000 shillings,” the unionist further said. Nding’o was speaking to hundreds of the KNUT Kitui Branch Burial and Benevolent Scheme members during their scheme’s 24th annual general meeting held at the Kitui Multi-purpose Development Training Institute recently.
Nding’o, who is also the KNUT Kitui County Executive Secretary, said that by 1979, due to the aggressive campaigns, the membership rose to 1,770 and the monthly contribution was raised to 40 shillings. “The year 1979 saw a dramatic change in the scheme’s operations. In the annual general meeting on October 13, 1979, a regulation evolved which changed the scheme’s status to the Burial and Benevolent Scheme for the members,” Nding’o said.
The membership was extended to the teachers spouses, the unionist added. “Our gratuity and burial assistance currently stand at 90,000 shillings assuming the deceased dependant is above 54 years,” Nding’o announced. He said: “At 200 shillings monthly contribution one needs to have worked and contributed for 37 years.
This is not realistic, hence the perennial problems for the scheme and the need to review the by-laws governing the scheme so as to realise its goals and objectives seamlessly,” the KNUT official said. It is hoped that the review will help the scheme in realising its vision and mission as envisaged by those who started it, he added.
The KNUT Kitui Branch has a total of eleven electoral zones namely Kauwi/Katutu/Tulia, Musengo, Matinyani, Lower Yatta, Katulani, Kisasi, Endau, Sombe/Mwitika, Mutitu, Kitui Central and Nzambani. The Kitui County has a total of three KNUT branches namely Kitui, Kyuso and Mutomo. In his speech, the KNUT Kitui Branch BBS Chairman, Augustus Munyithya, regretted that the low membership, high death rate, high retirement rate and refunds arising from the spouses deaths among others are some of the problems facing the scheme. “Members, it is unfortunate most of these problems are coming as a result of the previous regime failure since when we took over there was a very huge debt amounting to almost 8 million shillings.
However, the blame game was to be of no help. We sat and decided to work from where we took over to ensure sanity in our organisation and that is why you can see some progress,” the unionist said. “Let us try to source for a viable investments from the little we are earning so that we are guaranteed of having some basic comfort after retirement.
This will also come with living a longer life,” Munyithya said. And the KNUT Kitui Branch BBS Treasurer, Peter N.Isika, who also addressed the function, announced that the scheme’s total expenditure for January 2016 to October 2018 was 29,385,966 shillings. The treasurer announced that they had a 434,077 shillings credit for the three years belonging to the scheme’s education fund.
The end of the story.