13 February 2013

Rwanda: Police Investigate Attack On Labour Union Official

Police in Kigali are investigating a case of alleged assault on an official from the Congress of Labour and Brotherhood (Contraf), Nadia Mukampalira by some employees of Kabuye Sugar Works (KSW).

Mukampalira is alleged to have lodged a complaint last week.

Speaking to The New Times, on Monday, Francois Ntakiyimana, Executive Secretary of Contraf, said Mukampalira was slapped in the face, on her back and on the arms by a KSW security guard on the instructions of the factory's Director of Finance.

"At exactly 10:50am Mukampalira entered the factory with a letter seeking authorisation to hold a meeting with the factory employees. She was sent to the Finance Director who received the letter but refused to acknowledge receipt.

"Mukampalira insisted to either get the signature or withdraw the letter, that's when they confiscated her mobile phone and her job ID, then beat her up. We reported the case to the Police and the Ministry of Labour," said Ntakiyimana.

The defence

The Kigali City Police spokesman Supt. Albert Gakara, however, dismissed claims of 'serious beating', saying that the initial assessment made indicated no visual signs indicating that she was beaten.

"We immediately recommended that Mukampalira undertakes an expert's medical check up but, in the meantime, we are still conducting the investigations," said Gakara.

Contraf accused the Finance Director of KSW, Anselme Habimana for having authorised the assault.

But when The New Times contacted him, he said that the misunderstanding between his company and Contraf have existence since 2011.

"In 2011, we denied them access to the premises of the factory because they were holding late night illegal meeting with our staff. I told them that if they want to work with us, they should work in a transparent way," said Habimana.

He further narrated grounds on which Mukampalira claimed she was beaten, saying that when she was entering the factory, she registered that she was going to the secretariat but she rushed to Habimana's office.

"I advised her that if she was dropping a letter she should take it to the secretariat, but in the process of explaining to her the procedures, the guard entered my office to inform me about the visitors who had come to meet me. She refused to leave my office and I told the guard to direct her to the secretariat. No one touched her all employees of the company can attest to that," he said.

He added, "How can someone be beaten to that extent and no one comes to her rescue? This is another move to blackmail our company," Habimana told The New Times.

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