Kenya: Teacher Wants New Judge in TSC Case Over Working Hours

21 November 2019

A retired school principal challenging the TSC's failure to define teachers' working hours wants a different judge to hear his petition at the Labour court.

Mr Ephraim Mwangi Gachigua indicated that Justice Nzioki wa Makau, who is set to hear and determine the matter, is likely to be partial.

This, he says, is because the judge dismissed a petition he filed in 2017, challenging his demotion from a principal to an ordinary teacher.

RELATED CASES

Mr Gachigua argued that the two petitions were related and that given the judge's dismissal of the first one, on grounds of time constraints without regard for his employment status and demotion, Justice Makau should disqualify himself from the case.

He further said that at the time of the judgment, Mr Makau failed to note that the he was under continuous violation of his employment rights.

"His judgment, which I feel was unfair, is partly the cause of the current petition,"

"It is to avoid a situation where the judge's impartiality will be questioned that I filed this petition at the High Court, not the Labour court," he said in response to the Teachers Service Commission's preliminary objection to the petition.

DEMOTED

Mr Gachigua was a principal at Kihome Secondary School in Othaya before he was demoted in 2013 and transferred to Rugathi Secondary School in Mathira, Nyeri County, to serve as a teacher.

On dismissal of the case against his demotion, he said the judge's decision was erroneous and meant to protect TSC commissioner Imanyara Kinoti, whom he had adversely mentioned in court documents.

"The demotion was justified by a secret falsified report presided over by TSC commissioner Mr Imanyara Kinoti. The invalidity of the report has been confirmed by office of the ombudsman, Kenya National Examinations Council and the Ministry of Education," he said.

"My conviction is that the judge's erroneous ruling was to protect Mr Kinoti from exposure. The same falsification matter is raised in this petition."

KEY ISSUES

In its objection, the TSC was of the view that the current suit should be dismissed as it is related to the previous one, but Mr Gachigua said he has raised different issues.

The issues include teachers' working hours and rest days per week, payment of half salary during interdiction and access to information held by the commission.

The petitioner says teachers work longer than they should without benefits, unlike their counterparts in other professions.

This has resulted in strain, he said, adding some teachers do not know their rights when it comes to working hours, hence the need for radical changes in the TSC 's employment policy.

He wants the TSC compelled to consult teachers before transferring them and stop unlawful interdictions.

The case will be mentioned on January 20, 2020.

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