1-0 : High Court Slaps Temporary Injunction On All NOTU Activities


NOTU Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere (Center) and his lawyers Okello Peter Jabweli (R) Leave the High Court premises on Monday Jan 23 2023 PHOTO/PATRICK JARAMOGI


KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] “He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best.” So goes the saying. In a rare twist of events, the High Court in Kampala has slapped a temporary injunction into activities of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) until a case filed against it is disposed off.

Justice Musa Ssekaana the Head of High Court Civil Division in Kampala made the ruling at a hearing held in Kampala on Monday January 23 2023.

Owere and NOTU CASE

NOTU Chairman General Usher Wilson 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.

READ: https://www.newvision.co.ug/category/news/notu-boss-owere-thrown-out-of-office-147612

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.

24 Unions out of the 34 that are affiliated to NOTU passed the resolutions.

Court Orders

Justice Musa 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.

Counsel Okello Peter Jabweli (LEFT) and NOTU Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere address the press outside the High Court Civil Division in Kampala on Jan 23/2023

“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.

To many in support, described Ssekaana’s ruling as an architectural masterpiece.

Guided by the hawk-eyed counsel, Okello Peter Jabweli , Owere said he was optimistic justice would prevail.

Counsel Jabweli welcomed the injunction and warned the respondents to respect the court’s order.


Lawyer Speaks Out

Addressing the press after the court hearing Owere’s Lawyer,  Okello Peter Jabweli said the Owere versus NOTU and 6 Others case came up for hearing today 23rd January 2023 before Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana Head Civil Division of the High Court.

“In the case Mr. 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,” explained Jabweli.

“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.

On the question of the need to keep NOTU functional by allowing interim officials to transact business, the Court did not give a definitive position but opined that whoever purports to act for NOTU in the interim will be held personally liable should it later find that the decision against the applicant (Mr. Owere) was unlawful or irregular or tainted with bias.

In the Judge’s own words he said “such persons will have to carry their own cross”.

The Court then gave timeliness for each party to file their pleadings/ submissions.

The case will come up for mention on February 28 2023.

Perhaps this case will unearth the flagrant violations of human rights, abuse of office and corruption that remains the dark secret within NOTU.

Shift Media News

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