24 November 2012

Tanzania: KIU Staff Down Tools Over Salary Delay

LECTURERS at the Dar es Salaam campus of Kampala International University (KIU) have downed their tools in protest over accumulated salaries.

They have asked the institution of higher learning's management to pay their salaries without further delay. "We are tired of this habit of paying us salaries for ten months of the year while we work for the whole year," said a female lecturer who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals by the school administration.

The 'Daily News On Saturday' found over 50 lecturers seated under a tree shade at the popular Nyerere Square. They went on strike since Wednesday, vowing not to go back to class until they are paid their October salaries. They said it has become a habit by the university's administration not to pay salaries between October and January for the past three years.

"This is unacceptable and we want this habit to end once and for all," said another male lecturer, who like his colleague preferred anonymity, claiming that all those who dared to comment openly through the media have been summarily dismissed.

Accusing the KIU management of "egoism and discrimination" whereby members of staff with Ugandan nationality are better and timely paid, the lecturers vowed never to resume classes until their October salaries are paid, the working environment improved and discrimination ended.

"Last year, we were paid October, November and December salaries in January this year. I am a foreigner who has nowhere to go to ask for assistance. My family has been suffering too," said another member of staff. KIU students' government president Paul Duba said the university's administration has promised to pay its staff salaries by next Monday when classes will resume.

"We have advised students to remain calm and to continue studying on their own while the administration sorts out the mess," he said. Mr Duba said the administration has promised to discuss with striking lecturers on how to compensate students for the time lost since last Wednesday when the strike started.

"We hope this strike will come to an end by tomorrow so that we can continue with preparations of our end of year exams," he said while appealing for calm. To while away the time, this reporter saw students clustered in groups, discussing various topics while others took time off to surf the internet and communicate with their friends and relatives through their mobile handsets and laptops.

The Director of Academic Affairs at the Gongo la Mboto-based institution, which has perennial staff and students' problems, Dr Joseph Ochan, said, "I have read your text message but please talk to Nasara Peter (administrative staff) to get clarification on the subject."

However, Ms Peter was unavailable when the 'Daily News On Saturday' visited the campus while text messages and calls were not picked until we went to press. The Dar es Salaam campus has more than 4,000 students, mainly from Tanzania while a few foreign students come from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

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