By Denis Wetondo
A total of 32 teachers who have missed on Government payroll for the last 17 months have decided to drag Mbale District Local Government to court after mediation talks between the two parties collapsed on Thursday 2nd December, 2021.
The 32 teachers claim they were appointed by Mbale District Local Government in June 2020 and also received posting letters to different primary schools from the then Chief Administrative Officer, (CAO) Esau Ekachelan.
The disgruntled teachers claim they were a total of 62 teachers who went through the interview process, passed, were appointed and given posting letters to different schools however only 32 have been receiving salary while the remaining 32 have never received any salary since their appointment.
The teachers claim they have raised several complaints to Mbale District Local Government authorities but no positive response has been issued. They say Mbale District Authorities have been playing a hide and seek game and that the District leadership claim the 32 teachers have forged and fake appointments.
They Claim the Teachers didn’t go through the right procedures to acquire the Jobs.
The Chief Administrative Officer currently in Office, Lucy Francis Amulen denied the teachers adding that they are not reflected in the District Service Commission records.
“I don’t know how he (CAO), Esau Ekachelan brought them on board, I don’t have any minutes of them being appointed and for people who were given interviews and appointed, I picked the extra minutes from the District Service Commission but those people do not appear in that extract so where they got their appointments I don’t know, they should tell you who signed the letters so that one should be the one to tell you how they gave them those letters, so don’t call me again on that matter.” She added.
During a mediation meeting between the teachers and the Principal Human Resource Officer Anthony Wabomba, the two sides failed to agree and Mr. Wabomba showed no positivity and assured the teachers that he had no solution for them and if they wished so they should go to court.
The angry teachers have now chosen the hard way to drag Mbale District Local Government to court.
Mr. Namukhobe Godfrey, one of the affected teachers said they had gone to meet the District leadership over the matter but the remarks they got from the Principal Human Resource Officer were very disappointing and frustrating.
“When I came to the meeting, I expected us to agree with the District because the district promised to put us right but when we reached here the labor Officer called for the meeting and said we should agree but unfortunately the remarks we got from the Human Resource Officer who was representing Mbale DLG was all negative, he said that even if we cry blood not nothing will happen, he is not ready to pay us.” He said.
He added that they tried hard to see that the issue is harmonized internally but the Human Resource Officer was adamant to reach an agreement with the teachers.
“We tried to agree in this meeting by presenting several requests towards the human resource but he remained hesitant, he refused to say any positive to us. Now we finally as teachers who were affected agreed and asked the labor Officer to summarize the report regarding the meeting and forward this matter to high court.” He said.
Musamali Julius, also an affected teacher expressed frustration towards the failure of the Chief Administrative Officer and the District Education Officer to attend the mediation meetings leaving only the Labor officer in the ropes.
“For me, I see these people are not willing to help us and what pains me a lot is that whenever we try to have mediation, it’s only one person that appears who is personnel, yet a meaningful meeting should have the CAO, DEO and other district officials.” He noted.
The teachers are also baffled by the continuous behavior of district officials of rejecting their appointments on grounds they are fake. The teachers claim they passed all the required process of appointment.
Nabudde Sarah also an affected teacher questioned the integrity of district officials if they doubt the appointments they themselves issued.
“We are wondering how a district can issue out fake appointments! It’s not us to make appointments, it can’t happen for us to get appointments from their office and they tell us they are ineligible, we want them to pay us. We don’t need their jobs because it seems they are not ready to employ us.” She said.
However when we talked to the lawyer representing the teachers, she declined to reveal her names saying she does not want to breach their ethics but noted that she works with Mukiibi Nakiyende & Co. Advocates. She also noted that her clients didn’t follow the due procedures but promised to launch a strong case against the district.
“Initially the case was filed wrongly because it was first filed in high court but labor suits should all start from the labor Office, so we withdrew the matter and we filed again before the labor Officer but since we haven’t agreed our next step now is to go back to court.” She said.