Teachers in Lamu terror prone areas decry delayed salaries

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Lamu,KENYA:Teachers posted to teach in terror prone schools in Basuba ward in Lamu East have accused the government of  abandoning them and failing to pay their salaries.

Speaking in Lamu on Tuesday,the teachers revealed that they had never been paid a single sent since they were posted to the various schools as had been promised.

Their spokesperson Kedi Guyo said the government wasn’t also being forthright with them on the terms of employment.

Guyo also criticized the government for failing to address the poor infrastructure in the Basuba schools hence making their work challenging.

“We are suffering.Since we were posted here no one has even bothered to come check on us.We haven’t received any salaries since we were posted here in January.We don’t have basic requirements like chalk,pens or books.The government needs to come clean and tell us what the game plan is,”said Guyo.

The teachers said the situation had exposed them to acute suffering with many of them even going without food for several days.

They said on many occasions they have had to beg for food from the nearby military and police camps.

“We beg for food from the army and police camps here,that’s what keeps us going for all this while.Our families are languishing in poverty.We came to help children here but we are also depended upon.How can one be expected to work in such a place and without a salary,even if we are from the local community,its still unfair,”said a teacher who declined to be named.

Basuba ward rep Deko Barissa urged the government to fulfill its own of the bargain by ensuring the teachers are well and dully paid to avert a situation where they might pack up and leave the already strained education sector in the area in limbo.

Barissa said the teachers have been risking their lives teaching in the schools which are situated in areas well known to be prone to frequent Al shabaab attacks and raids.

He asked the government to stop claiming that schools in the ward were open and learning was happening when the truth is the opposite.

“We feel the government is playing games with the Boni community.They demand that locals be employed to teach in schools here then they refuse to pay them.The schools are in bad shape,no teaching materials and no support of any kind.How are they supposed to work then?This area is well know for Al shabaab attacks.This young men are a big sacrifice by being here.Let them be paid,”said Barissa.

The eight teachers were posted in January this year to  Milimani,Mangai,Mararani,Basuba and Kiangwe primary schools that have been closed since 2015 following frequent Al Shabaab attacks that have left hordes of civilians and security officers dead.

The national government on January directed that all the five schools of Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe which were closed since 2015 following Al-Shabaab attacks be reopened. A total of eight teachers mostly form four leavers from the Boni community were posted in the area.

In January this year,the then county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo ordered the immediate re-opening of all schools in terror prone areas and assured both teachers and learners of adequate security.

However despite the directive,only a handful of ECDE centers and several primary schools in the areas are operational under a number of local instructors hired by the county government.

Majority of the primary schools remain closed with a majority of pupils transferring to schools outside the county.

The few schools that are open are only have classes one to three running and even then,at a very unreliable pace.

The national government resorted to having form four leavers from the Boni community teach in the schools after non-locals totally refused to be deployed there.

Efforts to get the current county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri’s comments on the matter proved futile as his phone went unanswered and text messages were unreplied to.

The deputy county commissioner Loius Rono also refused to comment on the matter and referred to the education office.

Lamu county director for Education William Micheni also denied being responsible for the situation the teachers are in.

“I don’t know who hired the teachers.I am not the county commissioner’s office,”said Micheni.

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