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Frustrated: Primary school teacher spends 15 years without pay

stronKampalastron.

Mr Edward Serunjogi is a man bitter and beaten by the world. This is something you see as he struggles amid sobs to share his story. Mr Serunjogi, a father of eight, has taught for 15 years without pay from government. His, is a story of years of hope lost in despair and unending promises.“I have been to all concerned offices in search of redress. I am in debt. I need money for my children’s fees, medical bills and clothing. I even fear going home on some days,” the distraught Serunjogi said.His demands date back to 2000. Recently, he was aised to seek support from the teachers’ union in Kampala to follow up the matter. To prepare for the trip, he borrowed trousers, a shirt, a coat and a pair of shoes. He also had to get transport from his colleague. “My home is similar to a pigsty. I taught until the one pair of shoe I had worn out. I have borrowed what I am dressed in now because if I had come in my ragged clothes, I would be mistaken for a mad man,” he said.Mr Serunjogi’s story is hard to believe. You ask what gave him the impetus to ride his bicycle to his work station nine kilometres away from his home every day, for all these years without pay. His reply is short and precise. “It’s the profession I loved and worked hard to attain.”He also says what kept his hope alive is the parents’ Shs1,000 contribution they paid to him every end of month in the term to support him. But what could Shs100,000 do for a father of eight?His documents show he was confirmed as a primary teacher in 1994 while at Katungulu DAS and subsequently promoted to a grade 2 deputy head teacher in 1999. “I have been directed that you be appointed on promotion to the office of grade 2 deputy head teacher on a salary scale Shs207,567 per month,” his promotional letter signed by Mr Isaac Mudoi, the district chief administrative officer (CAO) Mubende, reads. Although Mr Serunjogi’s name is reflected on the district teachers’ payroll, the Mubende-born teacher doesn’t know what happened to his salary remittances. The district’s primary teachers’ payroll of June 2004 shows that Mr Serunjogi received Shs115, 260 on account number 204547, Centenary Bank, Mityana District but he claims he never got the money. On August 12, the same year, A.N Mukasa, Mubende chief finance officer, wrote to the bank manager asking him to clarify on Mr Serunjogi’s account. “Mr Serunjogi is your customer whose number was quoted as 204547 for the months of March, April, May, June and July 2004. He contends his account number is ‘000801-3 and it should be the one to be credited with the salaries.”But Mr Serunjogi alleges he realised later the document he had been given was fake. “I got so annoyed on learning that I was given a fake document. I kept being tossed from district offices to the bank and all they kept promising me was that all will be well,” he noted.He claims when his salary would be released, it would be remitted on an account of a person with a name similar to his. “The money has been coming because that is what the payroll says but I have not been receiving it. It would come in my name but it would be deposited on another person’s account,” he said.His quest to have him paid has cost him several transfers. For instance, on December 3, 2004, while teaching at Lwebituuti Primary School, Mr Serunjogi wrote to the CAO asking to be paid for the nine months he had worked for at the station. Instead, he received a transfer letter seven days later transferring him to Katungulu DAS Primary School where he had previously worked for a year. He served there for two years before he was again transferred to Kassanda Boarding PS for a year and thereafter posted to Kalagala Church of Uganda Primary School where he threw in his towel in March.Now worn out from a chase that never bore fruits, Mr Serunjogi, who clocked 60 early this year, is pleading that government intervenes.He wants to fill the retirement forms but doesn’t know whether this money will still be paid to him. His only plea now is to have his arrears paid and for him to access his pension.However, Mubende District education officer Benson Kayiwa, said in an interview with the Daily Monitor on Thursday he will have to first investigate the matter because he cannot fathom how one could remain in service for 15 years without pay.“The inspector alleges the teacher absconded long ago and is no longer in service. Those incidents are of the past. I have to call the people who were in office at that time. Now that he has not been in service, it is difficult to tell whether he will get his pension,” Mr Kayiwa said in a telephone interview.He explained that on receiving Mr Serunjogi’s complaint on Wednesday, he raised the area inspector of schools who told him Mr Serunjogi absconded from duty some time back.

what they said about serunjogi’s salary case

“This is something that he would have to prove first. Somebody cannot work for 15 years without pay and continue working,”Benson Kayiwa, mubende district education officer

“As far as I am concerned, we have not received such a complaint. I wonder how money was diverted to another account for 15 years. Let him come to my office and we will investigate.”’Fabian Kasi, md Centenary Bank

“Many teachers work go without salaries yet they are expected to deliver. When they try to follow up their issue, they are intimidated with transfers until they either give up or leave service.” James Tweheyo, unatu chairman

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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