YUMBE. Drama and confusion ensued during the Yumbe district world teacher’s day celebration at Midigo primary school playground over the suspension of the union chairperson on Saturday.
The Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU) branch chairperson for Yumbe district was alleged to have been suspended from office over unclear grounds, a decision that has not augured well with majority of the teachers.
The celebrations started well with matching with brass band, entertainment and speeches in the pavilion but violence erupted shortly after the acting chairperson, Mr Rasul Galumgbe was invited to give a speech.
Teachers started shouting in a bid to block the acting chairperson from giving the speech but the master of ceremonies quickly invited students of St John Bosco core PTC Lodonga for an interlude in which the teachers vacated their seats in the tents and started dancing while carrying the suspended chairperson on their shoulders.
The matter however calmed down after the sub county and the district leaders talked to the teachers as they had planned to violently unseat the acting chairperson from his seat in the pavilion.
The celebration later continued after the leaders stopped the acting chairperson from giving speech.
Speaking to West Nile Web after the celebration, Galumgbe, who was elevated from the position of the general secretary said; "We received a letter from the national executive council of UNATU directing that the chairman be suspended from his position because he embezzled monies sent for the teachers who died".
West Nile Web couldn't independently confirm this allegation as there were no documents presented in regard to the matter.
Galumgbe said the chairman was not supposed to be in office and an acting chairperson was to be elected to coordinate the issues of the union in the district.
"We didn't inform the teachers of the matter before but it was going to be announced at the world teacher’s day celebration. Teachers acted unprofessionally but they should have waited for an explanation from me as to why the chairman was suspended before taking such a decision", he said.
Galumgbe added that the suspension letter never circulated to other offices because they were waiting for further communication from national executive council but according to the letter, they were yet going to take a decision in the annual delegates conference in December 2019.
Mr Wilfred Alioni, the suspended chairperson said he has been suspended due to his effort in fighting corruption.
"I was voted by my voters (teachers) who had trust in me but since I fight corruption in the union and the rights of the teachers, the people in the union and the district have decided to subside me", he said.
He continued "I stand firm as the teachers had trust in me, I will continue to serve the teachers of Yumbe district. I have the capability, potential and I am the third historical leader in Yumbe after Mr Christopher Yiiki and Mr David Lubuka who were equally not friends of corruption in the district", he added.
Despite the suspension letter, Alioni insists that he still remains the elected democratic leader of the teachers in Yumbe district though some people struggle for power in the union.
Mr Rasul Luriga the district education officer said his office is green about the developments in the union.
He said "teachers are always change agents but in case of an issue, we should sit down and solve the issue professionally. We want to get a communication of what happened from the national level because UNATU has a clear constitution and what's done should be within the constitution".
Ms Jane Alejo, the secretary for social services said; " I am not aware of the steps taken by UNATU in suspending the chairperson but we are yet to find out. The decentralisation policy in this case was not followed because the chairperson was elected by the teachers so if there is anything, they are supposed to notify us of what happened and the steps to be taken."
Mr Yassin Taban the district chairman directed the district Education officer to ensure that the fracas that happened in UNATU is resolved.
"We have clear policy guidelines and rules on how somebody should exit and come into a position. We should use right procedures in addressing an issue so for that matter I direct district education officer to invite the concerned stakeholders and representatives from each school to resolve this matter" he said.