Tuesday February 12 2013

Masaka education chief deletes HIV+ teacher from payroll, sued

By Agencies

The Masaka Municipality Principal Education Officer, Moses Ochong, is in trouble for allegedly deleting an HIV/AIDS positive teacher from the payroll.

Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU) has dragged Mr Ochong to court for denying the teacher her salary for the last 24 months.

The suit stems from complaints made by Florence Najjumba, the affected teacher.

Ms Najjumba declared her positive HIV status in 2011.

She says that she started feeling weak in 2010 while at St. Josephs Primary School in Kiyimbwe (Masaka District) and was admitted at Masaka Region Referral Hospital for three months.

It was during that time that she was transferred to Blessed Sacrament Kimaanya Primary School. However, she stopped getting her salary after the transfer.

Ms Najjumba, who is stranded at her home in Bisanje village in Masaka, says she is unable to get medical care and food since her removal for the payroll. She has also since gone blind.

Ms Najjumba was getting a monthly salary of Shs310, 000 before she was sacked, and now demands over Shs7.4 million.

Moses Nsereko, the Southern Region Chairperson for UNATU says they sued the officer for illegally deleting the teacher after she complained to them.

He says they want Ms Najjumba to be compensated, and condemned the act as discrimination and stigmatization in contravention of the education sector HIV/AIDS workplace policy.

UNATU wants court to order for the recovery of Ms Najjumba’s salary and granting her early retirement privileges as established by the law.

However, Mr Ochong has denied deleting the name from the payroll, saying he only recently took over the office.

He instead blames his predecessor, David Kawooya, for the act.