TROUNCED: Court Rules Owere Is Legitimate NOTU Chairman General, Awards UGX30m In Damages

ORDER; High Court has ruled that Usher Wilson Owere (L) is the legitimate Chairman General of NOTU after attempts by former General Secretary Hon Peter Werikhe (R) hit a dead end FILE PHOTO

By Our Reporter

KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] The protracted battle within the National Organisation of Trade Union (NOTU) that saw the Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere booted out by a section of NOTU officials seems resolved now.

The High Court where Usher Wilson Owere ran to after he was booted out in November 2022, has ruled that this action was illegal.

The ruling made by Justice Musa Ssekaana also observed that it was illegal for former NOTU Secretary-General Peter Werikhe and Deputy Chairman General Stephen Mugole to hold a General Council meeting in Kampala that voted to dismiss Owere.

The council accused Owere of dictatorship, failure to conduct meetings, and abusing his powers.

The beaming Owere had pointed out that it was illegal for Hon. Werikhe, also Bubulo West MP to continue serving as NOTU Secretary General, and asked him to  step down, a request that sparked “fire”.

Owere Rushes To Court

Owere rushed to the High Court and sought a judicial review of the process calling for the declaration that it was illegal and violated the Labour Unions Act and the NOTU Constitution. In his ruling made on Friday, Justice Musa Ssekaana declared that Tom Amiti, the acting Secretary General had no mandate to call a council meeting and that all the outcomes of the said meeting were null and void.


He also ruled that the consultative meeting convened by the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Betty Amongi on January 9, at which she recognized the new leadership, was illegitimate.

Owere was represented by Okello Peter Jabweli and Emma Opio while Alex Tuhimbise and Henry Kurukayo represented the respondents. While the applicant filed final written submissions that were considered by this court, the respondents “failed or refused to file their submissions as directed” and the court proceeded to determine the matter.

Ssekaana observed that removal of Owere as Chairman General was unfair, unjust, malicious, irrational, and illegal, and contravenes the principles of fair hearing and natural justice.

Judge Orders Costs

Justice Musa Ssekaana also directed the six respondents; Werikhe, Mugole, Bigirwa, Mauku, Bandaru, and Amiti to pay Shillings 5 million each, in damages to Owere, as a punitive measure against them.

Court also granted Owere an injunction blocking the respondents from removing him from office in violation of the laws. “A permanent injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from suspending and or removing the applicant from the office of Chairman General of NOTU or carrying out any activities for and on behalf of the 1st respondent (NOTU) was also issued.

The judge also nullified a consultative meeting on December 22 between Owere’s rivals and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi, which gave them a go-ahead to meet on January 9th where resolutions would be made to dismiss or reinstate the suspended Owere.

According to him, the Minister had no mandate, according to the laws, to cause the consultative meeting. “The Labour Unions Act did not give the Minister such a mandate to cause a consultative meeting that leads to the calling of an organ of NOTU.

NOTU meetings are held by their Constitution and not at the whims of a Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development or any other person in the Ministry,” he said, adding that all outcomes of the meeting were illegal.

Court was told that that meeting was called to make a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how Owere would be removed and what happens later, regarding the sharing of positions. “It was indeed irrational since the movers of the illegal meeting were to benefit from the new positions after the successful organization ‘coup d’etat’,” he said.

The respondents were also adjudged to have failed to follow the rules of natural justice in their effort of removing the applicant. The body with the power to decide lawfully, like NOTU, cannot unlawfully proceed to remove the applicant without affording him a proper opportunity to state his case.

Shift Media News

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