The Union for Security Guards began with formation of “NIGHT WATCHMEN” under the leadership of the late Hon. Sammy Muhanji in 1960s. He was inspired by the suffering of Night Guards sufferings in the hands of Colonial businessmen in Nairobi.
Following the continous wrangling between Kenya Federation of Labour and Kenya Workers Congress driven by internal and external interests in the struggle over supremacy, in the mid 60’s , The Government ordered for the merger of Trade Unions as an antidote to the leadership challenges . Kenya Federation of Labour and Kenya Workers Congress merged to form COTU (K) in 1965.
The late Muhanji the then General Secretary for NIGHT WATCHMEN become the KUCFAW leader after merging Night Watchmen Distributive and Commercial Workers led by Mr. Joseph Seme, Brewing and Commercial Bottling Workers led by Mr. John William Ouko, Tobacco Workers Union led by Moses Kabera,Laundry and Dry Cleaning Workers Union led by Samson Maenga.
In 1980s Mr. Muhanji quit Trade Unionism and joined politics becoming MP for Emuhaya, massive redundancies in 1980s, resulted in the exit of Bankers, Shops, Textiles, Breweries among others citing in effective representation thus reducing revenue base. The disillusioned watchmen were not left behind but they too, demanded sectoral representation and on 20th September 1999 Kenya Guards & Allied Workers Union was formed through a Court Award by Hon. Charles Chemutut.”A demarcation order compelling all security companies in the Protective Security Industry to be represented by (KEGAWU)”
At this point, the Guards had achieved only one thing (Guards Union) but not leadership as all General Secretaries who occupied the seat were drawn from other sectors and NOT Private Security Industry, contrary to the Labour Relations Act. From 1999 to 2006, the General Secretaries had Coups and Counter Coups and as a result of such we had 13 General Secretaries from Mr. Okaka who came from the Armed Forces to the late Mzee Ngirimani who came from Banking Industry.
In 2006, despite contributing immensely to KUCFAW, a crisis emerged with US Embassy Guards over a review of the existing CBA, The Chief Shop steward Bro. Isaac GM Andabwa realized KUCFAW had written to the Registrar of Trade Unions, to implement the Court Order which then mend that the Union was not a representative of the Guards despite them collecting the Union dues from the Security Firms.
In 2006, on realization that KUCFAW had legality challenges in representing the guards, Bro. Andabwa from KK led and pioneered the formation (UDIPAS) UNION of DIPLOMATIC INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE & ALLIED SECURITY OFFICERS OF KENYA as the founder Chairman.
The Registrar of Trade Unions gave the Union an interim Certificate No. 2006 as it had captioned over 56% of members representation from the Guards. In 2007, a deepening crisis in the guards sector persisted, calling for the intervention of COTU (K), the umbrella body. COTU (K) agitated for a Single Union in the sector. In July 2007 the sitting General Secretary of KEGAWU (Late. Njirimani) issued a delegate conference Notice after a week’ for consultations and mediation with both UDIPAS interim office and KEGAWU .The following resolutions were made during the Delegates Conference:
- Dissolve the unregistered UDIPAS Union
- Change KEGAWU( Registered Union ) to KNPSWU
- Amend the Constitution to accommodate both parties
- Change office Bearers
The merger of KEGAWU and UDIPAS led to the formation of KNPSWU. On 26th July 2007 the Minister gazetted the change of Name and Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU) was born with the Sole mandate of representing the matters of Private Security Workers in the Republic of Kenya. From the Onset KNPSWU had a myriad of challenges right away from Leadership to many, structural settings, Industrial cases in the Courts of Law and 20 cases by non members, opposed to the change and ownership of the Union by the Guards. At the High Court the Union had over 15 cases. KNPSWU under the leadership of Bro. Isaac Andabwa fought tirelessly inspite of resistance in re-structuring the Union’s Leadership, roles, mandate and scope. To date KNPSWU is a vibrant Union with a potential membership of over 350,000 in Kenya.