Uganda: KCCA Court Halts Eviction of Former Makerere Director

The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Industrial court has halted the eviction of Eng Frank Kitumba, the former director directorate for ICT support (DICTS) in Makerere University from the staff quarters.

In an August 16 order, Ruth Kulabako, the labour officer in charge of Kawempe Division faults the university authorities for executing the eviction unlawfully. On Friday Kitumba was forcefully evicted from the university house with the help of university security and police following the expiry of his contract.

Kitumba, a resident of university house number 138 along Fig Tree road, just below the college of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) had declined to vacate the house owing to an on-going labour complaint.

"Whereas Eng Frank Kitumba lodged a labour complaint against Makerere University of alleged infringement of Employment Act and in breach of contract KCCA/KWP/LC/098/2019 and the same was brought to your notice requiring you to respond to the complaint by August 21, 2019; no response has been received by this office nor has any hearing commenced in the matter," Kulabako says in her order to the university secretary.

"The purpose of this letter is to ORDER YOU TO CEASE AND DESIST from evicting the complainant until full investigations in the matter have been conducted and the same disposed of in line with the employment act," she added.

Section 93(3) of the Employment Act 2006 provides for jurisdiction to a labour officer to hear and to settle by reconciliation or mediation a complaint.

The labour officer also has powers under the act to order a party to comply with the provision of the act in case of infringement of the act. According to Kitumba, he was being evicted before payment of his salary and gratuity arrears amounting to over Shs 200 million as required by law.

Section 43 (4) of the Employment Act stipulates that where an employee is being housed by the employer, he/she shall not be required to vacate the premises until his/her terminal benefits are paid.

The same Act provides for the payment of an employee's wages and any other remuneration and accrued benefits to which he or she is entitled to in case of termination of his or her employment. Kitumba's lawyer, Stanley Okecho says following the order, his client has been able to get back to the house. He notes however that some of Kitumba's property was damaged or stolen during the attempted eviction on Friday.

"Frank is still in the house. During the attempted unlawful eviction, a number of items went missing, several other items were damaged. He still maintains his ground, the university should pay him, all the people who participated in the unlawful eviction to be charged," counsel Okecho says.

Kitumba was director ICT support of the university for six years and nine (9) months. Prior to that, he was a planning and maintenance manager from October 2010-November 2012 at Makerere University.

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