55 Serere teachers miss pay over illegal recruitment

Friday November 15 2019

A teacher in class. More than 55 teachers in

A teacher in class. More than 55 teachers in Serere District have not received salaries for four months due to irregularities that marred the recruitment process, officials have said. 

By SIMON PETER EMWAMU

More than 55 teachers in Serere District have not received salaries for four months due to irregularities that marred the recruitment process, officials have said.
One teacher, who identified himself as Alfred, said they applied in April and were handed their appointment letters, but since then, they have not been paid.

“We later learnt after being posted to various schools that the district recruited beyond the district ceiling. That it is the reason why it has failed to pay our salaries,” the teacher said yesterday.
Mr Gabriel Richard Atama, the chief administrative officer, admitted that there were anomalies by the district service commission.
He said his predecessor wrote to the Ministry of Public Service for 20 more recruits, but the recruitment went past the recommended number.
“When I came here in July, I found they had recruited beyond 55 teachers, yet without a budget, you cannot pay [the teachers] since it is illegal,” Mr Atama said.

“We have the budget for 20, so how can we determine the 20 out of 55? Should we follow the ranking? It can’t be determined by me, chairman, council or even the Ministry of Finance,” he added.
Mr Atama said the district service commission acts on the basis of the accounting officer who also takes a decision based on the recommendation of the district council.
“By the time I came, these people had contracts with the district, meaning the district was duty bound,” he said, adding that they have written to the ministries of Public Service and Finance to solve the impasse.

Mr Atama added that the issue will be tabled in Parliament, and once it is approved, the Ministry of Finance will clear the outstanding arrears.
He said they need Shs650m from the ministry, adding that area MPs Helen Adoa and Elijah Okupa are following the matter.
Mr Joseph Okojo Opit, the district chairperson, said it was regrettable that the 55 teachers were not earning salaries, “but we ask for their patience as we push for the payments”.
However, Mr Opit denied reports that the district service commission has been disbanded over the matter, saying their contracts still run until next year.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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