By Anastazio Mpumulo
Teachers and some civil servants from various Government departments marched to the office of Nkhotakota District Commissioner (DC), demanding their allowances from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for the services they rendered during the polling day of 20 May, 2014.
Speaking on behalf of fellow teachers, Ted Chiwaula said they have decided to take that course of action because they are tired of waiting and there was no response after they raised their concern in a letter they wrote to the district commissioner on 26 September.
In the letter sourced by Malawi News Agency, the teachers informed the district commissioner that they had not been paid the allowances as it is expected of any worker whether under temporary or permanent employment.
It reads: “We therefore ask MEC to pay us our allowances since it has taken five months without any sound reason for the cause of the delay while we hear that others have already been paid.
“Failure to comply with this within seven days from 29 September to 3 October, 2014 will mean a vigil at the DC’s office until our concern is considered accordingly.”
Nkhotakota District Council Director of Planning and Development Griffin Mhango told the concerned unpaid polling staff that they received the letter and forwarded it to MEC and MEC has indicated that they would start paying them next week.
The response did not please the teachers, citing that they had given MEC enough time to respond and they indicated that they would not move out of the DC’s premises.
Mhango then appealed to the teachers to go back to their respective duty stations and they would be paid next week but the teachers continued singing around the DC’s premises while carrying branches of trees.
The teachers moved out of the DC’s premises after a meeting involving Mhango, Nkhotakota MEC clerk Gedion Kanjirawaya, Nkhotakota Police officer in-charge Ellen Liganga and three representatives of the teachers.
Briefing fellow teachers after the meeting, Chiwaula said they had agreed that the teachers vacate the DC’s premises and wait for payment of the allowances next week, and if they will not receive their allowances by the end of next they can do whatever they want.
The teachers who marched to the DC’s office were from Lozi, Thale, Boma and Chididi zones in the district and they were over 70.