By Our Reporter
KAMPALA- On 3rd February 2021 advocates from AEQUTTAS wrote to Werikhe Christopher Peter the Secretary-General National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) warning him of legal actions.
Referenced AEQ//CIV/MT/132/2021, the lawyers were acting on behalf of their client Kanyana Ezra who was suing Werikhe for the unlawful holding of office as Secretary-General of NOTU and as a Board member of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Kanyana Ezra is the General Secretary National Union of Theatrical, Domestic and General Workers (NUTDOW), an affiliate of NOTU.
While Werikhe is the MP-elect for Bubulo West where he contested under the NRM party ticket.
Kanyana’s contention was that Werikhe very aware that he is Secretary-General of NOTU opted to contest for a member of parliament abandoning his role as SG.
The advocates noted that Werikhe decided to contest for the Bubulo West Parliamentary seat without resigning his position as Secretary-General NOTU, something that contravened schedule (3) (3) of the NOTU constitution.
Any leader of the National Center shall not be a member of a political league or stand on any political party ticket at any level”. “And where any federation leader chooses to hold any party position, he/she shall relinquish his/her position in the National Center”.
Kanyana through his lawyers also observed that Werikhe being a public servant in his capacity as NSSF board member was required to resign 90 days prior to being nominated as Member of Parliament as required under the law and Electoral Commission guidelines, but something he didn’t do.
Kanyana accuses Werikhe of staying away from representing members issues in the NSSF board, something that he says affected continuity.
Kanyana demanded that Werikhe as the Chief Executive of NOTU convenes a NOTU General Council meeting not later than February 19 to chat a way forward. He also demanded that the SG arranges to step down and resign as the NSSF board member.
Werikhe was tasked with preparing and presenting full audited books of accounts, including the LO Norway Special Forensic Audit Report which was conducted by Earnest and Young.
The SG was also tasked to account for the State House grant that was meant for the purchase or construction of NOTU House, as well as provide details regarding the sale of the land in Njeru.
The advocates requested that Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere takes the necessary steps. The Registrar of Trade Unions, the custodian of Labor laws was also asked to prevail over Werikhe to observe laws and constitution of NOTU.
Chairman General responds
On February 13 2021, Usher Wilson Owere, the Chairman General of NOTU wrote to his Secretary-General, Peter Christophe Werikhe informing him of Kanyana’s complaint regarding unlawful holding of office as SG and NSSF Board member.
Owere in his letter directed that Werikhe calls the General Council meeting as requested by Kanyana, and also prepare a good defense regarding the allegations of financial impropriety and property mismanagement. These, according to Owere were geared towards redeeming the image of NOTU.
“Be informed that, should you fail to call this meeting as directed by the litigants, for the sake of the labour movement, and NOTU’s image, I will invoke the NOTU constitution and relevant national laws to call an emergency meeting to address the same issues,” wrote Owere.
Basing on these Werikhe rushed to court where he sued Owere and Kanyana for defamation.