[Editor’s Note: We received the following testimony and supporting legal documentation from a former teacher at Kalibu. This is not the first time we’ve heard of such abuse: this is one of many such stories, unfortunately…]
Testimony of former Kalibu Academy teacher, Farayi Saide
On 06 September 2011 I wrote a letter to Paisley requesting a salary rise because my salary had remained stagnant for twenty months. As a response I was fired on 15 September 2011 through a letter from Michael. The letter had very tricky language. Michael can be so cunning with words. It took a very sharp eye to realize that I had been unfairly dismissed. Such is the demise and predicament of many who are unfairly dismissed from Kalibu, they never realize their rights have been infringed upon.
According to the letter, I was to leave in December. Soon after being served with the letter I went straight to Michael and Paisley’s shared office where I requested to be released immediately. Michael told me that if I left he would send Interpol on me. We had a heated argument in there.
He seemed to have no idea why he had written a letter to fire me. He kept on staggering from one reason to the other. Michael stood up and for a moment I thought he was going to slap me but walked out leaving me with Paisley. Paisley insisted that I was to leave in December.
25 September was pay day but my salary did not reflect in my account. I asked for my salary on the 27th of September and it was given to me in an envelope instead of the normal bank transfer. At this point I felt I had had enough. I served Kalibu with demands from my lawyer on the 28th of September 2011 and left.
Kalibu wantonly ignored demands from my lawyer. When I went back to the lawyer at the end of 7 working days, he asked for an obscene amount of money in order to continue pursuing the matter. He also advised me to find another job as I was likely to waste money in this lawsuit. I knew the obvious had happened so I left this lawyer.
I reported the matter to the Labour Office and 25 October 2011 was set for hearing. Paisley represented Kalibu and he agreed to pay only severance pay but refused to pay the rest of my benefits. He said if he did, it was going to create a bad precedent. The severance pay cheque was given to me after eight working days, a day later than we had agreed.
After cashing my severance pay cheque, I took the matter to the Industrial Relations Court for the rest of the benefits. There I was met with a lady clerk who started acting like Kalibu’s lawyer arguing that what Kalibu had done was lawful and that I had no case against them. I later on found out that this clerk was trading on the wrong side of the law. Clerks are to refrain from advising clients. She refused to entertain my issue and did not serve me. I came back a day later and was served by a different lady. This was on 2 November 2011. I left for Zimbabwe soon afterwards.
In January 2012, Kalibu wrote a Statement of Response to the court which was full of lies. I advised against it in writing to the court in February 2012. Item 2 on the Statement of Response claims that there was no prior hearing before the Labour Officer. If I could pose only two questions out of many to Paisley, where was he on 25 October 2011 at 1430hrs? Item 3c on the Statement of Response has it that I was paid my earnings and entitlements including severance pay, can he furnish with details of these payments?
Lying and infidelity of such a magnitude should not be expected from pastors.
[Editor’s Note: Paisley does not qualify as a pastor in any regard. He is not called as a Pastor, has no formal education or proper training and has not been ordained by any recognized authority. Anyone who physically, verbally and sexually abuses others is not fit to be called Pastor and should already have been stripped of this title. The same applies to Michael Howard. He has never been a Pastor to anyone. Instead of caring for the sheep and shepherding them, he has abused them and taken advantage of those under his care.]
Ten months elapsed then in December 2012 I received a letter from the court informing me that my case was about to be dismissed due to fictitious lack of follow up. I physically visited the court from Zimbabwe and I met the lady who had refused to serve me earlier on. My file was already out of the locker on 20 December though the dismissal date was 31 December. I proved to her that I had not abandoned my case showing her how I had corresponded with the court in February that year. She apologized for overlooking these correspondences and I went back to Zimbabwe but alas she still dismissed my case.
I found out in March 2013 that my case had been dismissed and revived the case with the aid of a new lawyer I engaged. In June 2013 there was a pre-trial conference of the case at the Industrial Relations Court. Kalibu offered an out of court settlement but went quiet in their usual deception game. My lawyer kept telling me to give them more time instead of applying for full hearing. I realized I could not trust this lawyer anymore so I dismissed her from my case.
I switched lawyers twice between March 2013 and February 2014. Once a lawyer got in touch with Kalibu Academy, they would come back singing a different song. I personally got in touch with Kalibu’s lawyers in March 2014 after dismissing all lawyers and they offered a meagre out of court settlement claiming that they had failed to get hold of my lawyer in the previous year to present their offer. I rejected the offer, Kalibu refused to adjust it and they challenged me to a full hearing. Around that time Paisley told me through an sms to forget about the matter, hide and get on with my life. I vehemently told him never to try intimidation tactics with me as I would never run away from him on any arena.
My application for a full hearing date was successful without a lawyer and without delay, something which three different lawyers had told me they had failed to achieve. Kalibu was served with a notice of hearing in July 2014 which Ms Kapangama the school administrator/governor signed and stamped.
I could not trust anybody and was running out of financial resources so I had to represent myself on the final hearing on 17 September 2014. Knowing Paisley’s unorthodox means of conducting business, I showed up at the court a day before just to check if everything was in order and indeed according to my suspicions, the paper with the list of cases to be heard on 17 September had gone missing. The soft copy wasn’t available for reference and my file had not been selected for hearing. Thinking everything had gone their way, Kalibu exempted themselves from hearing without an excuse, so hearing went on in their absence.
I won the case after which they tried to apply for another hearing but were turned down. Still after this Kalibu refused to pay through the court but only did so through the deputy sheriff with penalties in March and April 2015 right at the verge of property attachment.
[Editor’s Note: Thank God this teacher was finally awarded the pay that was rightfully due. As you can tell from the testimony, this is a highly educated individual with a lot of resources and determination. How many countless others have been dismissed and have been unable to fight for themselves!]
Here is the rest of the testimony:
My testimony of Kalibu from year 2010 to year 2011
The last time any prospective employee sees Michael smiling and laughing is on the day of the interview. Things change drastically the moment one shows up for work as a Kalibu teacher.
There were awkward practices like standing up each time Michael or Paisley walk into the staffroom or assembly. On assembly, the standing ovation is coupled with forced celebrations and stage managed jubilation.
Their arrival would signify the beginning of praise and worship singing. I had serious problems with this assembly celebration because it posed confusion on whether we were cheering for God or for them.
[Editor’s Note: I have been there multiple times and have felt the same way. One of the very issues I confronted Michael Howard about in the summer of 2015 was the inappropriate and godless nature of worship. For this, I was rebuked by Jim & Eileen Kirt and by Michael.]
Rules could change any time. Michael and Paisley are a law unto themselves. Fines were introduced and money could be deducted from one’s salary without hearing. There were small tokens called monthly bonuses but only those that Michael and Paisley liked qualified. This I later on leant was meant to fuel divisions amongst teachers. Their issuance was at their discretion. The annual bonus was not automatic and the criterion was unknown, no one was supposed to ask. There was no standard for the determination of salary scales at Kalibu. All was at Michael’s discretion. He could adjust salaries for certain members of staff and freeze others.
Michael was against any form of activism and teachers were not members of any Union. Anyone who represented teachers in the school development committee would not last at Kalibu. This can be verified by a simple survey of the whereabouts of any teacher who attended SDC meetings.
Job security was something to worry about. Fellow teachers were used as informers. Members of staff manipulated this system to secure their own jobs. Backstabbing and sacrificing of fellow workmates became a culture. In most cases, the backstabbing had nothing to do with work related issues. Michael and Paisley would fire anyone without cross checking. These informers were called snitches. Their identities were known but they were untouchable.
Verbal abuse was rampant. The kind of venom that came out of Paisley and Michael’s mouths should only be expected from gangsters and not people who profess to be pastors.
[Editor’s Note: I haven’t spoken to a single person that has had contact with Michael or Paisley out of hundreds that hasn’t had this exact same testimony: they verbally abuse everyone – period.]
Saturday evening services were mere time pushing episodes. The boy who prayed for the Holy Communion was said to be Michael’s live in gay partner. Though Michael owed the school an explanation on this, he never did. I was one of the boarding masters in 2010 and I certainly know that the boy who was the head boy was not residing in hostels with others. This I could tell from morning inspections as there was no space or bed for him in any hostel.
I might not have concrete evidence on Michael’s homosexual inclination but I remember vividly in 2010, a certain gay couple namely Steve and Tiwonge (aka aunty Tiwo) held an engagement ceremony publicly in Chileka suburb of Blantyre. The two were arrested and the following assembly Michael fumed. His sentiments were flaunted for public consumption as he openly declared that economic sanctions were to befall Malawi because of her homosexual intolerance.
Michael’s sermons could deliver substance at times as long as he was not bragging about escapades or talking about self exaltation. I have no doubt that the man knows Biblical principles. Paisley’s sermons were kindergarten comedy. It was difficult to tell the head from tail when he preached, yet he was a regular preacher.
Teachers would take turns to preach on assembly. In March 2011 one of the school governors, Ms Kapangama took to the pulpit on assembly and admonished teachers under the guise of preaching. This did not go well with me and together with a fellow teacher who ran away from Kalibu in 2011, we approached the school’s deputy head Ms Konono to lodge a complaint. To my surprise, Paisley defended this kind of preaching and accused me of having pride.
Staff turnover was of unprecedented levels and Paisley would say he didn’t care. Michael would continuously echo a statement which sounded like a dictum to me, “shape up or ship out”. With this statement he justified his unruly act of unceremoniously firing teachers. Anyone he got rid of was labeled “sloppy”.
The two men were ever right and were like goddesses. Staff meetings were all about being shouted at, castigation, insult and receiving instruction. There was no deliberation at all. Michael with his I know it all attitude would talk for hours on edge during staff meetings which were placed right in the middle of the holiday and way before the opening of schools just to frustrate teachers.
[Editor’s Note: and this is the sad truth of Kalibu. It is a white-washed facade, held together by fantastical lies told to stupid westerners that give money. I was one of those and have had to repent for the money that I personally gave to a school being run under these principles. Michael Howard and Paisley Mavutula may serve some god, but they don’t serve MY God, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If you just listen to the lies they tell and the lies they write in the newsletter, it all sounds absolutely fabulous, but if you dig beneath the shallow surface, what you find lurking is just what this former teacher experienced.]