Malawian teachers had gloomy Xmas without salaries

Scores of Malawian teachers have celebrated their 2013 Christmas silently after the Joyce Banda administration failed to pay them their December salaries despite an assurance that it would so.

Several teachers who spoke to Nyasa Times confirmed government forced them to spend their Xmas in a toned-down manner as they had nothing to eat.

Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) General Secretary Dennis Kalekeni also confirmed the sad development saying he personally checked with authorities to find out the reasons behind the delay.

The teachers had hoped to receive their salaries much earlier than previous years after the Ministry of Finance issued a statement saying that all civil servants would be paid by December 16.

Kalekeni: Bleak time for teachers

Kalekeni: Bleak time for teachers

However, the statement only ended up infuriating the civil servants as they only started receiving their pay after December 20.

An angry teacher who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal had no kind words for the Joyce Banda administration accusing it for lacking seriousness with people’s wellbeing.

“Government knows that people want to buy new things for family members as well as eat good food during Christmas and New Year. One wonders then why they fail to process the salaries in good time,” she complained.

I have been going to check my salary at the bank but there is nothing, it is high time government became serious with the welfare of its employees, she added.

But Kalekeni said some teachers would take time to receive their pay because their cheques were only deposited on Tuesday.

“And with the holidays some will only access to it after December 27,” he said.

Kalekeni also said some irresponsible officers at the salaries department created a mix-up that resulted in the salary delays.

“Some teachers in selected centers are likely to wait until month-end because their cheques were written a wrong bank,” said the TUM general secretary.

Teachers form the largest division of the civil service but always get raw deal when it comes to salaries and other allowances.

If the Joyce Banda administration does not play its card well, they could hurt the ruling People’s Party (PP) as it moves towards the country’s first-ever Tripartite Election expected in May 2014.

The PP is expected to face stiff challenge from the opposition parties as it looks ahead to its first win since establishment in 2011.

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