Uganda: Parliament Blocks Obore's Return From Forced Leave

Kampala — The Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige has extended the forced leave of Parliaments' Director of Communications and Public Affairs Chris Obore indefinitely.

Obore's trouble with Parliament started in March 2019 when Kibirige notified him that the Inspectorate of Government had conducted investigations noting that his recruitment at Parliament was irregular. According to the Inspectorate of Government, Obore did not have the requisite qualifications for the job, at the time of his recruitment.

According to the job advert, a suitable candidate was expected to hold an Honors Degree in Mass Communication, Communication Studies, Journalism or Arts with Communication and Public Relations studied as subjects, from a recognized University plus a Masters' Degree in a relevant field.

The applicant was also expected to have working experience of 10 years, part of which was as a communication/Public Relations or Information, Protocol and Public Affairs Department from a recognized Institution or at the level of Assistant Commissioner in a Government Institution.

At the time, Obore had been an investigative reporter with the Daily Monitor and only held a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication, obtained from Islamic University in Uganda. He completed a master's degree in Public Policy and Governance in 2018 at Uganda Management Institute (UMI).

A subsequent systematic investigation by the Inspectorate of Government established that the appointment was based on illegalities and that it was in contravention of the parliamentary service regulations. On the basis of the letter, the Clerk to Parliament has instructed a review of Obore's employment with Parliament.

But Obore went to the courts to seek redress and block his termination. During the same time, Obore was sent on forced leave for 144 days, which had accumulated from his annual leave. The days have now elapsed.

In a letter dated February 5, the Clerk to Parliament made reference to last years' communication sending Obore on leave, saying all the matters have been discussed by the Parliamentary commission and she was directed to ask Obore to remain on leave.

"While waiting to be guided on the way forward by the commission, I have been directed to instruct you to remain away from your duties, on the same terms as earlier communicated to you in my letter of 18th September 2019 until the commission guides accordingly," the letter reads.

The clerk says that by copy of the letter, the Deputy Clerk Corporate Affairs Henry Waiswa is instructed to continue managing the affairs of the Department of Communications and Public Affairs.

The letter was copied to the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Clerks and Counsel of Parliament.

Obore is being represented in court by law firm Kampala Associated Advocates seeking a judicial review on the termination of his contract. Kibirige in her response said Obore's contract was not terminated but only brought his attention to investigations by the IGG.

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