BY ROBERT ELEMA
YUMBE. Drama and confusion ensued during the Yumbe district world teachers day celebration at Midigo primary school playground over the suspension of the UNATU Yumbe branch chairperson on Saturday.
The celebration started well with matching, entertainments and other speeches in the pavilion but violence erupted shortly after the acting chairperson was invited to give speech.
Teachers started shouting in a bid to block the acting chairperson from giving 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 supended chairperson on their shoulders.

Mr Alioni Wilfred the suspended chairperson (right) dance with a female teacher after the fracas. PHOTO BY ROBERT ELEMA

The matter however calmed down after the subcounty and the district leaders talked to the teachers as they planned to unseat the acting chairperson from his seat in the pavilion and the celebration later continued after the leaders stopped the acting chairperson from giving speech.

Speaking to Radio pacis after the celebration, Mr Rasul Galumgbe the acting chairperson 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.”
Radio Pacis 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 teachers day celebration. Teachers acted unproffessnally but they should have waited for an explanation from me as to why the chairman was suspended before taking such a decision,” he said.

Mr Alioni Wilfred (left) share a light moment with the acting chairperson Mr Rasul Galumgbe on Saturday. PHOTO BY ROBERT ELEMA

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 an 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 subsdise me,” he said.
“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 is still remains 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.
“I have never received an official communication to that effect. I think the issue just came as a rumour,” he said.
He added; “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 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 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.”

Teachers lift the suspended chaiperson Mr Alioni Wilfred on their shoulders while dancing during the world teachers day celebration on Saturday. PHOTO BY ROBERT ELEMA

Mr Yassin Taban the district chairman directed the district Education officer to ensure that the fracas that happened in UNATU be 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.
He said leaving the issue unresolved will create confusion in the leadership of union and it will make people to doubt the authenticity of the suspension letter sent. End.