Over 30 teachers from South West Education Division yesterday morning camped at Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) headquarters at Capital Hill in Lilongwe to force government to pay them their three months salaries after their names were deleted from the government payroll.
The teachers, most of whom were women with small children, claimed that their names were deleted from the payroll following a government head count exercise aimed at ridding the payroll of ghost workers who were draining the civil service of millions of kwacha.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the teachers said although they arrived at the Capital Hill early morning, they had not been assisted because the authorities kept moving them from one office to another.
Said one of the teachers: “We arrived here around 4am and so far, we have been to Rooms Four, 11 and 15. We have also met the director of human resource management [DHRM] but he has not said anything tangible. If nothing happens by Friday, things won’t be good here.”
Efforts to talk to MoEST spokesperson Manfred Ndovi were futile as he was not in office and his mobile phone could not be reached.
Secretary general for Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) Dennis Kalekeni, who joined the teachers at around 5pm, said the situation was unfortunate and there was very little he could do since the teachers took the action without notifying the union.
Said Kalekeni: “If these teachers had notified us of their coming, they could have found some of the things already taken care of by us and they would not have had to stay this long, but as you can see I just learnt about this now. Even if government officials were here, I don’t think they could have done anything because government processes take time.”
He said TUM is aware of the situation and has since called for a meeting with the Ministry over the matter.
“We expect government to shed more light on this and also return on the payroll all teachers whose names may have been erroneously deleted.”