By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda[SHIFTMEDIA] In September last year we broke in this pages how Uganda’s coffee boom was set to dwindle after reports emerged that the nation had withdrawn from the intercontinental coffee body, the International Coffee Organization
Uganda had a target of exporting 20 million 60kg coffee bag by 2025, the pulling out of ICO was seen as a bad idea by experts.
EDs contract renewal hits Coffee Development Authority
A month later in October, we unearthed how the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka had blocked the move by Frank Tumwebaze, the Agriculture Minister to renew the contract of Dr Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira The AG advised that with the new Coffee Law in place, this would tantamount to a breach of the law. The new law states that the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Board is the one mandated to renew the contract of the Executive Director. The board was appointed on July 4th 2017 and its mandate expired on 3rd July 2020.
New issues emerge
As the year came to an end, and a new one started, many things happened within the background, what became apparent was that Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira, had bounced back as the Executive Director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority. His contract was renewed, how that was done will be story for another day.
Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira faces arrest
The latest we can reveal is that a warrant of arrest has been issued against the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Boss Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira.
The case under application for Judicial Review was filed by Kilama, the applicant against Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulmye Niyibigira as respondents.
The Registrar of the Civil Division High Court in a February 9 letter summoned Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira to appear in Court on March 15 2022 at 9am and show cause why he should not be committed to civil prison in execution of the said decree.
Who is Kilama Lajul?
Kilama Lajul was the former Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA Secretary who was fired by Dr. Iyamulemye.
In 2019 Kilama sued UCDA and its Director Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira for unlawfully terminating his contract.
Kilama alleges that he was in 2014 employed by UCDA as the Board Secretary/ Head of Finance and Administration for 3 years ending September 30th 2017.
However, his job title was later on changed to Board Secretary/ Director Corporate Services in August 2015 and in January 2017, his contract was also amended to five years ending September 30th 2019.
Court records indicate that his appointment was to be subjected to the renewal of a further term based on mutual agreement between the two parties subject to satisfactory performance basing on the established Performance Measurement System.
The evidence before the court shows that this process for assessment in the circumstances and evaluation of Kilama’s performance was based on “Performance Measurement System” in as far as the Human Resource manual of the Authority is concerned.
However, Kilama alleges that he handed in his performance assessment forms for the years in question but Niyibigira did not comply with the manual timelines and he (Niyibigira) thus filled in marks without his involvement.
Court orders reinstatement
Justice Musa Ssekaana (Below) in a ruling quashed the decision of UCDA citing that powers must not be abused and should not be exercised arbitrarily or dishonestly. He says that the actions of Niyibigira were illegal since it involved the improper exercise of power or abuse of discretion.
Ssekaana also ruled that for a valid decision to have been made, there ought to have been a minute of the proceedings to that effect which was not the case.
He issued an order declaring the decision of the respondents in terminating Kilama’s contract without a fair hearing as unjustified, unreasonable and against the principles of natural justice and were characterized by procedural irregularity.
Before ordering for his reinstatement, Ssekaana also awarded him 10 million shillings to cater for the damages caused to him.
Kilama explains that on July 1st 2019, he wrote to the Chairman of the Board of Directors through Niyibigira expressing his desire to have his contract renewed after its expiry in September 2019.
The respondents are also alleged to have included other unnecessary issues, presentations and persons in the evaluation process and Kilama was in the end not offered a fair hearing by the board.
Kilama also contends that as the decision of the board was pending, he on October 1st 2019 received a letter dated September 30th 2019 signed by Niyibigira purportedly communicating a decision of the board.
This decision reportedly indicated that UCDA had made a decision not to renew his contract.
Kilama further alleges that he was subsequently driven out of office two days later and acting persons appointed in his two unlawful positions.
However, during the hearing of this matter, the Board through their lawyer Richard Adubango asked the court to dismiss the suit on grounds that the Authority had on September 2nd resolved not to renew Kilama’s contract at the end of the month.
Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira declines to comment
Our frantic efforts to get to the UCDA executive Director hit a dead end as his known mobile phones were switched off.