Kenya: Court dismisses attempt by Bridge International Academies to bar teacher's union from discussing the company's impact on right to education
The High Court of Kenya has dismissed an application for an interim injunction by Bridge International Academies against a teachers' trade union and its Secretary General Mr Wilson Sossion. This decision follows a case filed by Bridge International Academies accusing the trade union and Mr Sossion of defamation.
All components of this story
Author: Justice Richard Mwongo, High Court (Kenya)
"Bridges International Academies Versus Kenya National Union of Teachers & Wilson Sossion"
Author: The East African Centre for Human Rights (Kenya) & others
"Kenyan court prevents attempts by Bridge International Academies to muzzle critics"
The High Court of Kenya at Nairobi dismissed on Tuesday the application for an interim injunction against the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and its Secretary General Mr Wilson Sossion which had temporarily barred them from publicly discussing the operations of the largest chain of private schools in Kenya, Bridge International Academies, pending the hearing and final determination of the suit. This ruling is an important step to correct the attempt by the American company to silence critics in Kenya.
This decision follows a case filed by Bridge in March 2017 accusing KNUT and Mr Sossion of defamation. This case followed concerns raised by Mr Sossion regarding Bridge’s lack of compliance with education standards and the profit making nature of the company. Mr. Sossion’s criticisms are however well documented in a report published by KNUT. In March 2017, Bridge secured a gag order which restrained the KNUT Secretary General and KNUT officials from publicly mentioning or engaging in constructive criticism of Bridge. Several other reports from various independent sources, including academic researchers and journalists have made similar findings, informing the call to investors to cease support to Bridge which was signed by 174 organisations in August 2017.
In the ruling, Justice Richard Mwongo, emphasised that education was a matter of public interest that deserves a public discussion: “Not only does the constitution guarantee every child the right to basic education, it is also a fact that education is of such importance that the public are often engaged in questioning the happenings in public and private education issues at all times”