14 April 2017

Uganda: Army Major Sues UPDF, Govt Over Unfair Dismissal

A senior UPDF officer who was involved in the botched treason trial of General David Sejusa and the stalled treason trial of Nakawa municipality MP Michael Kabaziguruka has sued the government over unfair dismissal from the army.

Major Ronald Iduuli lodged the suit following his sacking from the General Court Martial in Makindye, where his last position was that of a defence counsel. In his suit filed on April 6, 2017 at the civil division of the High court, Iduuli is demanding over Shs 1 billion in compensation and damages.

Iduuli has attached three government and army institutions or officers as respondents to his case. They are the attorney general, the chief government legal adviser; Maj Gen Joseph Musanyufu, the joint chief of staff; and Col Dr Gordard Busingye, the UPDF deputy chief of legal services.

Iduuli, who joined the army in 1998 as a cadet officer, before becoming a lawyer attached to the court martial, says he served as a tank commander during the UPDF offensive against the rebel ADF in Congo and as a tank company commander in Operation Iron Fist against the LRA rebel group in northern Uganda. He says he suffered a very serious injury, which left him with a broken arm.

Now, through Ojok Advocates, Iduuli says that on July 25, 2016, he was directed by the UPDF chief of legal services to vacate the office of defense counsel of the General Court Martial but was not appointed to any other position.

"Since my removal from the post of defence counsel, I was never again given any other assignment/ deployment until my illegal, unfair, malicious and unconstitutional retirement," Iduuli says in his affidavit in support of the suit.

According to Iduuli, on August 1, 2016, he wrote to the UPDF chief of legal services complaining about his unfair treatment and requested for a fair hearing as required by the Constitution and principles of natural justice.

"On August 15, 2016, the third respondent [Busingye] convened and chaired a unit Policy and Administration Committee (PAC) meeting purposely to select and recommend officers and militants who were due for retirement," Iduuli says.

In that meeting, according to Iduuli, Busingye falsely and maliciously informed PAC members that he had applied for retirement, which he had not. Iduuli further accuses Busingye of frustrating his efforts to pursue a junior command and staff course in Jinja, after writing an August 17, 2016 letter to the PAC, "falsely informing it that I had applied for retirement."

Iduuli now wants the High court to declare that the actions of the respondents, of retiring him from the UPDF without his consent, as unconstitutional and illegal. He also wants court to prohibit the respondents from further harassing him, either in form of threats of imprisonment or otherwise.

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