Tarime Chairman of Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) in Tarime district, Matinde Magabe has apparently turned fugitive and fled from police who are tracking him for questioning in connection with the just ended teacher’s strike.
The government has already demoted ten primary school headteachers in Tarime district in the Mara region for fueling and taking part in the just ended countrywide teachers strike.
Tarime District Education Officer, Emmanuel Johnson told The Guardian in a recent interview that the teachers were officially demoted on August 1, this year. The officer went on to warn that the government’s response will not stop there but rather additional stern measures will be taken on other teachers who took part in the strike.
Commenting and condemning the headteachers choice of action, Johnson said: “They have affected the education sector,” without elaborating.
The demoted headteachers are from Mturo, Kwihanche, Reamagwe, Nkerege and Gibaso, Kitagutiti, Nyamwino, Nyankoni and Itiryo primary schools.
Efforts by this paper to get the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa to alborate failed after he replied on his mobile phone that he was in a meeting. Neither did the TTU President Gratian Mukoba respond to our call.
In another development, CUF NationalChairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba yesterday advised President Jakaya Kikwete to meet with teachers and discuss ways to address their concerns given that the court order may have stopped the countrywide strike but did not tend to the teachers complains that led to the strike.
Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Prof Lipumba said the government as an employer is answerable for the teacher’s concerns as it is responsible for their wellbeing. “It is the duty of the government to resolve concerns of its employees before it comes to strikes which reduce productivity and ultimately undermine the country’s economic development…” he asserted.
Prof Lipumba disagreed with the President’s statement that it is not ready to spend 75 percent of its budget on staff salaries since there are no proper wage ratios between employees of different cadre in the country.
According to Prof Lipumba, the country’s economic development is dependent on teacher’s workforce and as such, the government, advised the professor, must take into consideration their salary increment requests.
Prof Lipumba questioned the government’s failure to increase teacher’s salaries yet, according to him, spend a lot of money on what he called ‘unnecessary purchases’. He in fact went on to shortlist some of these superfluous expenses as the acquisition of luxury vehicles and traveling allowance.
Prof Lipumba called upon the government to control inflation, warning that not doing so will result in further cries for salary increments to meet the rising costs of life.
TTU in Dar es Salaam called off the teachers’ strike last week on the 3rd following the High Court ruling on Thursday that deemed the strike illegal having failed to comply to a number of governance and administration codes of conduct as stipulated by their union leagal documents.
TTU President Gratian Mukoba said his association has obeyed the high court ruling and that they intended to adhere to all orders and instructions from the court including recompensing any and all losses incurred as a direct result of the strike.
None the less, the teachers have not given up their quest for high pay and as their union’s president revealed, they will be consulting their lawyer in an effort to appeal the High Court ruling.
He did however, order all teachers in the country to resume teaching and continue with work and duties as usual but to rest assured the organization is pursuing fervently for ways to resolve their matter. He hinted a key ‘way’ to resolve the matter as, ‘dialogue between them and government officials to attain a lasting solution’.
TTU organized the nationwide strike as part of their constitutional right in the hope of pressurizing the government to increase salaries by 100 percent. Currently, teacher’s salaries range between 196,500/- for certificate holders, 277,000/- for grade ‘B’ teachers and 469,200/- for undergraduate and 618,300 for masters’ degree holders.
Apart from salary increase, the teachers were also demanding teaching allowance to be about half their salaries and teaching environment allowances to be 30 percent of their salaries.