By Yang Ater Yang
A high court in Lakes State has ordered the state Minister of Education and Instructions to reinstate and compensate four teachers unlawfully dismissed from duties.
In ruling on Tuesday, presiding Judge, Noah Gabriel Kau said the decree issued by the education minister for dismissal of the teachers from their positions violated the Civil Service Act 2011.
The state minister, Nelson Makoi’s order also contravened the Manual of Public Service Procedures in 2007.
Justice Gabriel then ordered the Ministry to reinstate the teachers to their positions and pay their arrears and salaries from the date of the suspension without delay.
“The respondent defendant shall compensate each of the applicants with an amount of 190,000 SSP for unlawful detention of 38 days in a military barracks (garrison),” partly reads the court ruling.
The respondent shall bear the cost of 1.400, 000 SSP, which are court fees, and 70,000 SSP, which are advocate fees, it added.
The teachers were arrested over accusations of inciting others to reject salary payments under the old structure in demand of 100% increment of the new structure, declared by President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
But, last year, in August, the county court judge, Akel Alex, found them not guilty and acquitted four (4) of the remaining teachers, after spending nearly two months in jail.
The education minister, Nelson Makoi and his director general, James Marer Aluel, terminated services of the teachers, alleging commitment of gross misconduct of inciting others to reject to receive salary.
However, Emmanuel Mapuor Mabor, a spokesperson of the dismissed teachers, told the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Wednesday that the ruling was a fair justice served by the Lakes State high court.
“I would like to assure, particularly the people of Lakes State, that there is law, and if there is law, you have to claim your rights, no matter what?” he said.
“Like today, we are given our due rights by the high court in Lakes State, “he added.
He terms the success of the accused teachers in the court as being for all others in the state.
“The right we get today is a right of all teachers in Lakes State. We demand a new salary structure starting from 2021. That was the issue that led to unlawful terminations of our jobs” he stressed.
“Our reputable judge, justice Noel Mabeny Kau, has now given us our right according to the law today “, he lauded.
Mabor termed the court victory as a very big pleasure to all the people within and outside the country.
He urged President Salva Kiir Mayardit, to pay close attention to issue of education in Lakes State.
“People talk about quality education in Lakes State, but it is just an empty slogan while education is completely down, and that needs our president to pay good attention to it,” Mabor emphasized.
The defense lawyer, Malith Jokthiang Wundit, said the ruling was the best for his clients, adding he would wait for a period for the court to implement the verdict.
“We have to wait 14 days to seek the execution of the order, but I think the government will comply and reinstate the teachers, if not, we will still go back to court,” he said.
The defense lawyer urged the state governor to end the culture of arbitrarily detaining teachers in military facilities.