Tanzania: Troubled University Staff Now Reaches Out to JPM Over Their Unpaid Dues

TROUBLED employees at Mount Meru University (MMU) in Arusha are now counting on President John Magufuli’s intervention over their ten months unpaid dues.

The beleaguered workers that include lecturers and non-teaching staff have sought the president’s intervention on the dispute they are having with MMU’s top administration.

Speaking separately to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, the workers alleged that they were at loggerheads with the MMU’s administration after it failed to pay the more than 80 employees a whopping 800m/- which dates back to February 2017.

They further accused the university owned by the Baptist Church of Tanzania of not disbursing their bank accounts with leave allowances amounting to 150m/-.

“The university owes us outstanding dues in the form of unpaid salaries, gratuities and leave allowances, and they are not willing to settle them anytime soon,” lamented Mr Michael Sambu, a lecturer from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

He further accused the university’s top administration of not heeding to their desperate calls and grievances, adding that the more than 80 workers are now being forced to contend with the reality of being ‘jobless’.

According to Sambu, their employer was insisting and ordering the staff to go home for a six months unpaid leave, something they were opposed to. “None of us has consented to such a demand and never will there be any of us willing to go home without getting paid the arrears,” he said, adding that they now live in destitution, compelling them to look for other means to sustain their living condition.

“Most of us are sole bread winners to our families, we cannot therefore survive for ten months waiting for MMU’s salary,” he said.

On his part, Mr Christian Charles, an IT expert said their misfortunes begun in September this year when the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) ordered the suspension of the Arusha based higher learning institution.

The regulator of higher learning institutions had suspended MMU and four other universities, ordering them to stop enrolling students over failure to meet stipulated conditions and regulations.

The decision by TCU forced MMU to relocate 254 students to the University of Dodoma, Moshi Co-operative University, Makumira University, Arusha University, Jordan University and the Open University of Tanzania (Arusha Campus). Mr Charles said they were now demanding for their rights of being paid a salary upfront of 10 months, irrespective of the university situation.

“The lecturers are not behind the TCU’s ban on the university, what we need is our salaries, we only hope President Magufuli will come to our rescue,” he said.

Despite sharing their grievances with the regional labor office, the office of the Regional commissioner and the district commissioner’s office, Mr Charles was certain that President Magufuli was their only hope in getting them out of the situation.

He attributed their misfortunes to the Chairperson of the University Council, Advocate Boniface Mwabukusi whom he alleges forced them to go on unpaid leave for several months now.

Contacted for comment, MMU’s Council Chairperson, Mr Boniface Mwabukusi admitted that the ban imposed on them by TCU had caught the university off-guard, compelling them to send the lecturers and other staff on unpaid leave and without settling their dues. He deemed the situation as a ‘reality’ and not a ‘problem’, saying the fate of the lecturers laid on TCU.

“We are going through a difficult time as a university because we are not operating in capacity,” he admitted. According to Mwabukusi, MMU would explore on other avenues such as using church contributions in settling the dues.


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Publish date : 2018-11-02 06:21:48

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