TEACHING Service Commission chairperson Daphne Chimuka says it would have been prudent for Southern Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa to call the Commission in order to raise his concerns about the ongoing teacher recruitment process.

And Chimuka says she cannot respond to the complaint raised by Solwezi East UPND member of parliament Dr Alex Katakwe that the Commission gave verbal instructions to recruit only 340 teachers from the total allocation of 620 for Mushindamo District, because it is baseless.

Recently, Mweetwa directed the Provincial education officer to revise and recall the report sent to the Teaching Service Commission on teacher recruitment because local stakeholders in Southern Province were not involved in the process as directed by Cabinet circular number 10 of 2022.

Meanwhile, in a letter dated June 3, 2022, Dr Katakwe demanded that the 280 teacher positions be added back to the total allocation of 620 for Mushindamo District without delay.

“As a member of Parliament for Solwezi East Parliamentary Constituency, Mushindamo District, I strongly demand that the removed 280 teacher positions during the recruitment be brought and added back to the total allocation of 620 to Mushindamo District without delay. I am entirely informed that the Mushindamo District Education Human Resource Management Committee was verbally instructed by some members of the Teaching Service Commission to recruit only 340 teachers leaving out 240 from the total allocation of 620 for the District,” Dr Katakwe stated.

“This is despite the fact that the applicants qualified and are contained in the Post Office database for the Mushindamo District. I wish to categorically indicate that we shall not tolerate this injustice and unfairness as the people of Mushindamo District. I therefore call upon the investigative wings to seriously look into this matter and bring the perpetrators to book.”

And in an interview, Dr Katakwe said local stakeholders including the District Commissioner’s office were not included at the final stage of the recruitment process.

“The website for the Ministry of Education and the website itself for the Teaching Service Commission, that is the number that was allocated. That is why we want the Ministry or the Teaching Service Commission to clarify. It is in the public domain, Mwinilunga as well was given 620. So if a person says it is baseless, the data is there. So that is why we want them to respond and clarify so that they can clear the air. Mr Paul, the one who was acting DEBS before the current DEBS came, I had a meeting with him in the morning when we were in Solwezi. I called him and he came to the provincial administration office,” he said.

“He told me that the instruction that was coming from the Teaching Service for them to recruit only 340 came in verbally and they made an exchange of phone calls. But why should you go back to say this and that? They just received the instruction and that instruction [was] coming from the Teaching Service. So if that came from him who was standing in and chairing, can I dispute that? I cannot dispute because he is the one who was there. And at the final stage, the District Commissioner’s office was not represented. The Anti-Corruption was not there and the police were not there. So all these other entities were not there. Maybe if they were there, they would have voiced out there and then. So those are things that need clarification. So the only people who should clarify are the Teaching Service Commission.”

Dr Katakwe said the Teaching Service Commission needed to clarify what was going on.

“Where we feel there is a problem, we raise a flag. So a person cannot go and say our concerns are baseless but let them respond. When we see concerns, we have to alert the nation to say this is what is happening. If you call the DC’s [office] right now, they will tell you that yes, in fact he also tried to raise the issue to the province but he was not answered. It is the same thing in the recruitment of health workers. The one who is District Health Director on the ground, he has also brought his own people from Southern and so on against the guidelines that came from Cabinet. All those are issues that we are raising,” said Dr Katakwe.

“So ours is to stand with the people and we ask the Ministry and the Teaching Service to address the concerns of the people. And if they address it otherwise, we will be able to see that these people are also hiding something. Why hasn’t Mwinilunga also been treated the same? Information comes from insiders within the system and the database says Mushindamo is the only district where Mwinilunga was also given 620. Haven’t they been given that 620 allocation? We wait for the final list to be published then we raise a concern further. But why should we wait until the list is released when the insiders have said there is this, can we not pay attention to what had happened to Mushindamo?”

And in response, Chimuka said Education Minister Douglas Syakalima would address all concerns being raised.

“We heard about them in the paper. I think the most prudent thing would have been for the honourable Minister of Southern province to call us and find out what exactly is going on. We were in Southern Province and we did not get those complaints. So we need to know what the basis of his complaints is. I will not give a further comment because the Minister of Education is going to give a statement on both complaints. Because even the Katakwe complaint, it is something that I would not comment on because it is baseless. We did receive it. So you wait for the Minister to give a statement,” said Chimuka.