Judge urges parties in North Eastern teachers case to do an out of court settlement

Justice Nduma Mathews Nderi when he was being interviewed for the position of Chief Justice at the Supreme Court in 2021. He wants teachers to settle their case with TSC out of court.

A Judge in the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) hearing the case of North Eastern teachers who want their reposting back there quashed has now exhorted the parties in the case to consider settling the matter out of court.

Justice Matthews Nduma Nderi encouraged the parties in the petition to see how best they can settle the matter outside court, considering that the North Eastern learners are the ones being disadvantaged since their teachers are at home even as the matter will be coming up for mention in March 5, 2024.

“I encourage the parties to engage in an out of court settlement. Please engage because that is very important in terms of our Constitution. We have teachers at home in North Eastern and children are not being taught. Both of you should take into account this and immediately engage in an out of court settlement,” advised Justice Nderi.

Kenya Teachers in Hardship and Arid Areas Welfare Association (KETHAWA), which is the petitioner  representing the teachers, moved to court in December last year under certificate of urgency, praying to the court to stop TSC from reposting the said teachers back to North Eastern until the case KETHAWA filed in court is heard and determined. The court granted the prayers.

Wangonya Wangenye representing the teachers virtually today at the ELRC.

The teachers sued through their KETHAWA alleging insecurity, discrimination and violation of their rights and fundamental freedoms contained in an affidavit sworn by National Secretary Wangonya Wangenye.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) interdicted them and subjected them to disciplinary action, later issuing reposting letters to the same region they were running away from.

Justice Bernard Odongo Manani Matanga thereafter on December 29, 2023 issued orders barring TSC from reposting the teachers back to the locations they fled and restrained it from taking disciplinary action, orders which have now been extended by Justice Nderi until March 5, 2024 when the case will be mentioned again.

During today’s inter-parties hearing, which was conducted virtually, Justice Nderi granted the respondents in the petition (TSC, Ministry of Education, Attorney General and Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government) 21 days to file their responses, as applicants file a supplementary affidavit and submissions within 14 days.

Speaking to Education News outside the court afterwards, Wangenye, who is also the lead counsel representing the teachers in the petition, said they are ready to engage TSC in the matter so that they can get a lasting solution, adding that they are happy no one will interdict them further.

A section of embattled teachers from North Eastern consult with KETHAWA National Secretary Wangonya Wangenye. A judge has urged the parties to settle their case out of court.

“No further disciplinary action will be taken against them, and they will not be reposted to North Eastern.  However, the Judge has also encouraged an out of court settlement, and we are ready to engage the TSC with an amicable way of resolving this case outside the court, because even if we don’t resolve outside the court we shall continue with the main petition,” said Wangenye.

By Roy Hezron

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281