A former principal of a Caprivi primary school is demanding N$500 000 from the Ministry of Education for working as head of cluster for the Ndoro and Masambo schools.
Alex Sombelo Mibonda (51) claims the Education Ministry economically exploited him by not remunerating him for services he has rendered as head of both Ndoro and Masambo for the past five years.
“I was verbally commissioned as if it was a cattle post and I obliged in favour of respect for my superiors but my powers were totally abused. So I want the Ministry to compensate me. I can’t do Government work for free,” Mibonda says.
He further claims to have made countless enquiries with the regional director of the Caprivi Region but could not manage to clear up the issue; in which case, he forwarded his grievances to the office of the permanent secretary who seemingly failed to address the matter as he has received no feedback since.
When all efforts to have the Education Ministry owe up proved futile, Mibonda was forced to beseech the Ministry of Labour for mediation but was only allegedly offered a measly N$2 400 taxable transport allowance by the Education Ministry, which would stand at N$1 584 after deductions; a gesture Mibonda rejected.
“Both the Labour and Education ministries did not do it according to the law, because there were no signed documents. I even challenged the PS to come up with the documents I could sign but he failed to do so. I consider that payment as bribery and that was a tea break. Now I’m waiting for my lunch and supper,” Mibonda charges.
In January this year, he approached the office of the regional governor with the same grievances and was advised to put them on paper, which he did but that did not also bare any fruit.
As a last resort, the regional governor, Alfea Lawrence Sampofu, advised Mibonda to approach the office of the Ombudsman since the education director of the region did allegedly not want to entertain him.
However, the principal claims that an investigation into the matter prior to his approach to the governor’s office for assistance found that his demands were legitimate and that the amount he is claiming should be paid to him.
“My rights were violated, because I didn’t know about them. I used my own resources, now they should compensate me with N$500 000,” he says.
The former principal further says that the Masambo Primary School took five years without a pay-point and the other three years without the school code after its establishment and the distance between the two schools is 12 kilometers.
“I want the Ministry to compensate me for damages and I will keep on talking until I am settled,” he stresses.
Admitting that Mibonda approached their office with such a claim, deputy education director for the Caprivi Region, Austin Samupwa, denies the legitimacy of Mibonda’s claims, emphasising that Mibonda was at no time asked to supervise any other school apart from Ndoro where he was the principal.
“You see, in the Education Ministry, we have the cluster set-up of which Ndoro was a part of. A cluster system is such that one school becomes the leader of other schools. Mibonda was only the principal of a cluster centre, it was not a day-to-day job, as he was not responsible or supposed to supervise any other school,” Samupwa says.
He adds: “It is not true that he was supposed to go to any school to supervise. He pressed us a lot, so we had to go into the nitty-gritties to see if he was speaking any truth.
“We interviewed teachers to see if he went to the school as he claimed but he only went there once or twice a week. We then paid him for those days; a very little amount on the basis of what Government offers. I cannot tell you how much exactly. I also don’t want to say much because this is a newspaper. I could have said more if it were off the record.”