By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda-SHIFTMEDIA- Controversy is surrounding the nomination of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Board member from COFTU.
Speculators allege that the mad rush for the lucrative board is due to the hefty monthly stipend of Ugx 20 million on top of the juicy seating allowances.
But this speculation was rubbished by the NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba when we reached out to him. Is it true NSSF Board members are paid Shs20m per month? We put it to Byarugaba who responded: “Not at all.”
He said every three years, The minister in charge of NSSF is supposed to appoint members into the NSSF board after consultations with the relevant workers bodies.
The board according to Richard Byarugaba has 10 members, the Board Chair, the Managing Director (NSSF), a representative from the Ministry of Gender and Labour, one from Ministry of Finance and Planning.
Others include two representatives from the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE), and two representatives from the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) and Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions ( COFTU).
The non-unionized members who contribute to NSSF have also been pushing to have at least two representatives in the board to represent their views.
As a requirement, NOTU and COFTU Top executives are supposed to seat and elect, or agree on gets nominated to seat on the NSSF Board.
The Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) stated that the two Labour centres have duly submitting names of their representatives on NSSF board of Directors.
The NOTU Executive Board elected bro. Hassan Mudiba (General Secretary Local Government union) and Bro. Julius Bahemuka (Chairperson NUEI) as its representatives.
But when it came to COFTU, the issue that is causing controversy is the fact that the General Secretary and former Workers MP Dr. Sam Lyomoki nominated himself and his Deputy Secretary General Sr Peninnah Tukamwesiga. Peninnah has served as NSSF board member for two terms, and this is also raising concern.
Though COFTU had convened both Executive Board (EB) and Central Executive Council meetings for Thursday August 26, 2021 to elect a representative, this meeting was cancelled mysteriously by Lyomoki.
In a new communication that we obtained, the COFTU Executive Board and CEC meetings have been rescheduled to September 8, 2021 at 9:am and 3:00pm respectively.
But apparently the nominees into the NSSF board are already listed.
Concerned COFTU members wondered why the meetings are being convened when names for their NSSF board representatives had already been submitted to URBRA.
The members also raised a concern saying Lyomoki is not a unionized member since he was suspended from the Uganda Medical Union which later left COFTU and joined NOTU.
Our sources revealed that scores of COFTU Executive members are planning to have Lyomoki thrown out.
Dr. Lyomoki responds
When contacted, Lyomoki described the allegations as outrageous, malicious and blackmail intended to sway his efforts of supporting workers cause. “For your information, the position of Secretary General is the highest in the labour movement. So if I am not a trade how did I climb up to that?” “It is only jealous people who don’t understand the trade union structures or who are against workers interests who can parrot such a falsehood,” said Lyomoki.
He said as Lyomoki, he doesn’t have time for negative energy.
“I preside over an organisation, COFTU with an elaborate structure and processes so all nominees to various entities including NSSF pass through a due process,” he said adding: ‘Secondly, my struggle for workers is unparalleled by any trade unionists and workers at the grassroots to bear witness to this, so no amount of shall erase or deter me.”
Commenting about the long serving of his deputy as NSSF Board member, Lyomoki said there is no law that bars Peninah or any person from serving over and over again.