More than 22,000 teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003 will soon cash their pension arrears cheque after their former employer finally cleared the way for the release of the Sh17 billion, 18 years after they first demanded it.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia told the Nation that she had signed off the pension for the retirees.
“I can confirm that we have processed the arrears and most beneficiaries have already been paid,” said Mrs Macharia recently.
She said the money will be paid to teachers in service when the government agreed to a raise of up to 150 per cent in five phases from 1997.
The government reneged on the deal after the first payment and the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) government renegotiated it in 2003, upon which it was implemented until 2007.
Since the initial 1997 deal was to be paid in two phases until 2001, teachers who retired between July 1, 1997 and June 30, 2003 demanded to be paid their share since they would have benefited from it had it been paid on schedule. They filed a case against the TSC in the High Court in Nakuru.
In an October 23, 2008 judgment, the High Court ordered the TSC to process the pension based on the 1997 salary award. Attempts by the TSC and the Attorney-General to appeal the judgment failed. The
TSC was also ordered to pay costs of the suit in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
At some point, the retirees asked the High Court to hold in contempt then-TSC secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni.
The Nation has established that, at the time of going to press, the TSC had processed all the pension claims while the Director of Pensions is, by law, mandated to pay the money.
This becomes the second major labour relations feat of late by the TSC, which last year managed to work out a formidable CBA that has restored calm in the teaching fraternity.
The development is largely seen as the main reason teachers have not gone on strike this year as was traditionally the case, especially during national examinations.
On the contrary, teachers have played a big role in the administration of national exams, with principals and headteachers becoming the centre managers of their schools.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers (Kuppet) chairman Omboko Milemba welcomed the news but demanded that families of beneficiaries who have since died also be paid.
“It is good that they will be paid after a long struggle,” said Mr Milemba.