President must know we are angry – Malawi protesting pupils

Hundreds of angry school pupils who took to the streets in the Malawi commercial capital, Blantyre, protesting delays by government in paying their teachers’ salaries said they want  President Peter Mutharika to know that they are angry with the situation.

Malawi school Kids riot in Support of Delayed Teacher Salaries

Malawi school Kids riot in Support of Delayed Teacher Salaries

The pupils, aged between six and 12, organised themselves into an impromptu strike, pelting their classrooms and passing vehicles. Police say several classes had their window panes broken while at least 40 vehicles were smashed.

Police used fired rounds of teargas Wednesday to disperse the pupils.

Some teachers in public schools have not received their salaries since May and have since resorted to boycotting classes until they are paid.

The unusual strike action started from the Catholic Institute Primary School and, by word of mouth, moved to Dharap Primary School which incidentally is situated along the Presidential Drive towards President Peter Mutharika’s official Sanjika Palace barely a kilometre away.

Chanting ‘We’re not learning! We’re not learning!’ in Malawi lingua franca Chichewa, the pupils closed the road with tree branches, huge rocks and boulders.

“We want the president to know we are angry,” said Thoko, a 12-year-old student, who would not give her last name for fear of retribution. “He must pay our teachers so that we can go back to class.

President Mutharika, who was ironically away to the eastern city of Zomba conferring certificates, diplomas and degrees on graduating students from various constituent colleges of the University of Malawi, was scheduled to return to the palace Wednesday afternoon.

“Please tell Peter on our behalf to do his best to pay our teachers so that they resume teaching us,” said 11-year-old Vera, who also refused to give her last name. “We also want to be leaders in future. They should not kill our future.”

Standard (Grade) 8 pupils are about to sit for their Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, at least 6, 600 teachers have not seen the pay cheque since May. The ministry’s spokesman Manfred Ndovi confirmed the development.

“Of the 10,000 teachers recruited by our ministry in May, we managed to put about 2, 800 on the pay-roll by September,” he said.

Ndovi said 9, 400 teachers reported for duty by September and they were supposed to get their salaries as soon as they were recruited, but the process of putting them on pay-roll was ‘very cumbersome’.

“We have been let down by the process as it involves district offices, the Treasury, the Department of Human Resource and our ministry,” he explained.

But even some long-serving teachers have been affected by the salary delays which observers put down to government being broke as a result of ‘cashgate’, the systematic plunder of government money where businessmen and politician skimmed millions of dollars in the government payment system in payments for ‘ghost’ goods and services rendered to government.

According to an audit by the British audit firm, Baker Tilly, at least US $30m was lost in the scandal which led to Western donor nations and agencies, who bank-roll 40 percent of the impoverished southern African country’s national budget, freezing budgetary support.

At least 70 people are currently in court answer corruption, fraud and money laundering charges.

Several government departments are running at barely a quarter of their monthly budgets, according to published media reports.

“We are demanding salaries failing which we won’t go back to class,” said a teacher in Blantyre.

Some teachers that have received their salaries have joined the strike in solidarity.–Associated Press

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rasul maulidi
Guest

Please Malawians osaligawa dziko doesn’t give sense

Chinyophilo
Guest

skzapezeka wabwno kumalawi. kuba 2 much!

yungsai
Guest

sorry malawi.God is thea for u.thee wil neva forget our btful nyasa,ngat tinapulumuka pamavuto abingu kapitala mkachan aka jst wait n see.but lets not judge anew a government we end up loosing our beloved brothers.jst pray hard cz noting s impossbo wth Allah.mashallah.

ndakuona kaneni
Guest
I smell a rat on school children demonstrations; pp was behind it. I saw pp publicity secretary ken musonda at catholic institute talking to some teachers 2 or 3. soon after musonda left driving towards stella maris I saw c.I. school children taking to the streets. minutes later I learned that musonda was at zingwangwa driving towards kamba and we heard zingwangwa, chilobwe and st pius pupils joined the demonstrations. an hour later my friend saw musonda at nyambadwe puma filling station later hi and bt girls primary school pupils joined the demonstrations. someone also saw musonda coming from mbayani… Read more »
eric mpota
Guest

ana asukulu ku malawi mungoyambs kuba zinthu zaboma basi ndipamene boma liambe kuzindikila kuti lukupanga zopusa!

chinkombaleza gumanyundogowa
Guest
chinkombaleza gumanyundogowa

issues of receiving salaries late have been their f long let s know who is a culprit? The minister? or the President? Fire he minster of Education or Minister or minister of finance or who ever a culprit. even if it means overhauling the whole ministry. Mukufun ana athu asaphunzire. Ndani angagwire ntchito osalandira? Akamakupatsani mpando ndiyekuti akudalirani osati kunyozetsa president. Anaunso samalani asiyireni makolo zimenezi zaka zanu sizinafike zopanga chiganizo panokha mungbvulare

Ochewa
Guest

Amalawi izi ndi zomwe mudasankha ndiye simudati mulira zenizeni 4 yrs yatsalayi.

Munthu Wosaziwa
Guest

If Malawi Government can not afford to pay primary school teachers because there is no money, then how can it afford to pay Ministers, MPs, Board Directors e.t.c.? Komatu abale ngati zinthu zili chonchi after 50 years of independence, its better to close the whole country and start all over again!

chimwemwe chimtengo
Guest

zomwe achita anawa sanalakwe chifukwa boma silikuchita bwino anthu afa ndi njala.Aganize bwino .

Redeemed
Guest
Using the school kids to settle your differences is not only a complete counter productive, but absurd. These kids are at a very vulnerable age where they are so naive and are therefore easely influenced. We are striving to build a strong nation from both economic and moral perspective. AND THIS DREAM LIES IN THE HANDS OF THESE FUTURE LEADERS, now if we continue to promote this unruly behaviuor, then how do we anticipate the achievement of our long term dream. I do not condomn the government’s ill tendency of seemingly marginalisation of teachers, but two wrongs can never make… Read more »
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