The High Court Civil Division of Kampala has, temporarily suspended all activities of the new leadership of the National Organization of Trade Union(NOTU) Leadership.
Justice Musa Ssekaana the Judge on Monday ordered the new NOTU leadership never to conduct any activity, until the Case filled against them by Usher Wilson Owere the impeached Chairman General is disposed off.
Owere dragged NOTU and six others for suspending him during a General Council session held at Hotel Africana in Kampala on November 15 2022.
The six include: Hon Christopher Peter Werikhe, Stephen Mugole, Richard Bigirwa, Mauku Moses (Ag Treasurer General), Badaru Barbara (Deputy Treasure General), and Amiti Tom (Deputy Secretary General).
Owere was voted out for failing to manage three council meetings that had been organised to settle the emerging leadership issues in NOTU.
The council appointed Hon Stephen Mugole, the then deputy Chairman General as Acting Chairman General. The council also appointed Richard Bigirwa, the General Secretary Uganda Bottling Bakers, Millers, and Allied Workers Union as the acting Secretary General for NOTU replacing Hon. Peter Christopher Werikhe who resigned having joined politics as member of Parliament for Bubulu West.
Justice Ssekaana ruled that much as the suspension may be in line with the NOTU constitution, no further actions or activities should proceed by NOTU, and the newly appointed leadership until the main case filed by Owere is disposed off.
Ssekaana also warned that should the new appointed leadership proceed and do any activities before the case is dissolved, they will carry their own cross as individuals.
“I order that there is a STOP for everything for now until this case is concluded. Everything is on hold, the status quo remains as before,” ordered Justice Ssekaana.
He said that he received Owere’s petition on November 6 2022. “I would have stopped that Council meeting, but I was mindful of the expenses, the hotel bookings they might have done and only set January 23 2023 as the date for hearing the case,” he said.
He added:I did this, because to me, nothing can’t be undone by court, perhaps only in the case of death. The world is not ending tomorrow. Let’s all hold any activities until this case is ended.”
Ssekaana who talked with a high sense of humour and feared in equal measure appealed to the respondents to allow him time to study the case before him so as to solve the NOTU grievances amicably.
“I now put a temporary injunction staying any action on the applicant (Usher Wilson Owere) until the main case is disposed. I don’t allow rejoinders, but I will allow to so do and respond when the case comes for mentioning on February 28 2023,” he ruled.
Addressing the press after the court hearing Owere’s Lawyer, Okello Peter Jabweli said Owere contends that the actions of the Respondents in attempting to remove/suspended him from his office as Chairman General violated the law (Labour Unions Act) the NOTU Constitution and that he was not accorded a fair hearing.
“After establishing the statusquo ie that the Applicant Mr. Owere has allegedly been suspended and referred to the Disciplinary Committee, the Court ordered that no further action be taken against him pending final determination of the main suit.”
This means that whoever attempts to take any further action against Owere will be acting in violation of the order and will be in contempt of Court and there are sanctions against such conduct.