Retired officer feels dumped

Retired officer feels dumped

Two years after Ulemu Simoko retired from Malawi Police Sesrvice, she is yet to receive her terminal benefits.

She has been knocking on doors at the institution and others, but to no avail.

In August 2019, a minibus rammed into their police car at a service station in Blantyre.  

As an administration officer at Limbe Police Training School, she had gone to the service station to fuel the vehicle.

Since the impact of the accident led her to be confined to a wheelchair, she was forced into early retirement.

“I don’t understand what is happening because my bosses at headquarters seemed willing to assist. When I met the deputy human resources manager Dr. Gift Chiundira, he understood my situation and promised to arrange a wheelchair and house to suit my condition.

“At this point, I was receiving K30 000 as net salary because of loan deductions and I could not afford a proper house,” she narrated.

Simoko on a wheelchair with a guardian

Simoko presented her case to the then minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza who promised to help, but she was moved to another ministry.

In 2021, she appeared before the Police Medical Board in Zomba which she says recommended her retirement on medical grounds.

But in an interview, National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya refuted the allegations, claiming that their records show that Simoko received the support accorded to any civil servant injured in the line of duty.

He said efforts were made to give her lighter assignments in consideration of her condition, but she decided to resign on her own.

When we bounced the police response to her, Simoko said this was false as she was asked to retire on medical grounds.

On her being assigned other duties, she claimed the arrangement came after she had already been retired.

A letter we have seen from Malawi Police Service deputy director of human resource management dated May 31 2022 acknowledged receipt of Simoko’s retirement letter on medical grounds and consequently approved her retirement from June 30 2022.

It does not, however, state whether the letter came from Simoko or from her superiors.

With the job loss, she returned to her home village in Balaka District.

She has been looking for a job to support herself to no avail.

“I have tried to do business, but it hasn’t worked. Our house was destroyed by the rains in December 2022,” she said.

Simoko narrated that after struggling to pay rent, she went to Blantyre to seek help from the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) to enrol her into their programmes to gain vocational skills.

Her efforts were also unsuccessful as she did not have the required qualifications.

She approached Commissioner Richard Luhanga, then responsible for the South, who advised her to ask for her job back through the Office of the Ombudsman.

“But after a month, I received a letter, saying my case lacked merit,” she claimed.

Simoko said her friends and relatives who have been supporting her are now tired.

She lives in a rented house which a well-wisher was paying K30 000 monthly until February this year.

She has almost given up fighting for her benefits and asks human rights activists and lawyers to help her fight for justice.

The post Retired officer feels dumped first appeared on The Nation Online.

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