NOTU Chairman General Mr. Usher Wilson Owere
NOTU petitioners elected on Executive Board
National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) petitioners, who had gone to the “bush” after the December 14, 2018 elections, have accepted positions on the Executive Board ending 12 months of administrative wrangles.
The development follows the December 19, 2019 Governing Council meeting of the 33 labour unions affiliated to NOTU at Kampala's Eureka hotel which discussed and approved new positions in the amended federation’s constitution.
Members approved the positions of Vice Chairperson General Duties (Woman) and Deputy Secretary General - General Duties (Woman) plus five positions of Trustees, five positions on Board and five positions on the Disciplinary committee. The positions had been illegalized after the December 14, 2018 Congress which disgruntled elements questioned as unconstitutional in their petition. NOTU rebels under their operational tag dubbed “the NOTU we want” petitioned the Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry on December 29, 2018 on irregular constitutional amendments and a flawed electoral process. However Gender, Labour and Social Development (GLSD) Ministry ruled that the irregularities were not substantial enough to adversely impact on the final election results. The Ministry instead confirmed the new board but nullified 17 positions, two elective and 15 appointees that had been introduced in constitutional amendments.
The Ministry called on the NOTU leadership to conduct constitutional amendments in a meeting convened specifically for the purpose and to fill the remaining positions. The then GLSD Permanent Secretary Mr Pius Bigirimana told a joint February 8, 2019 meeting of NOTU Executive Board and Petitioners to work towards unity and harmony in the federation. It is against this background that nonconformists under the leadership of Mr Robert Wanzusi Matuku, General Secretary Infrastructure Union and contestant for the NOTU Secretary General’s position, negotiated with the federation integration of the protestors on the board.
The "rebels" include Hospitality Union General Secretary and former NOTU Trustee Mr Frank Mugyema, who was elected on Disciplinary Committee together with Fisheries Union General Secretary Mr Henry Mukasa. Others are Civil Society General Secretary Mr Emmanuel Bigirimana “Musajja wa Kabaka”, elected as Trustee while Mr Hassan Mudiba and Mr Juma Mwamula were elected as Board members.
The Governing Council also elected unanimously Ms Anita Seruwagi as Vice Chairperson General Duties (Woman) and Hon Theopista Ssentongo as Deputy Secretary General - General Duties (Woman).
NOTU Secretary General Mr Peter Werikhe Christopher told the Governing Council that they had been holding consultations with the disgruntled group on their inclusion on the Executive Board■ He said they received a list of the group’s preferred candidates for the three committees on Executive Board and the names were publicized and promoted among the affiliates.
“We received a list of their preferred candidates for the three committees on Executive Board, and the names were publicized and promoted among the affiliates,” he said. Mr Werikhe called on trade union leaders to stop abusing and fighting the NOTU board because it is their federation but instead work towards unity and development of the labour movement.
He gave tribute to Workers Member of Parliament and former Sports State Minister Hon Charles Bakkabulindi for working tirelessly for the development and promotion of workers’ rights. NOTU Chairman General Mr Usher Wilson Owere said endless squabbles within the labour movement have impacted negatively on the smooth running of development programs, and called for unity of all affiliates.
He said: “ We waste a lot of time fighting imaginary enemies especially after elections instead of organizing workers to defend their rights from exploitative employers”, he said. Mr Owere expressed appreciation to the former "rebels" for accepting to join the Executive Board so that together they work towards transforming NOTU into a vibrant, united, dynamic and progressive federation.
He called on all trade union leaders to be prepared for a nation- wide strike against the dubious takeover of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) by the Finance Ministry.
Mr Owere extended special thanks to Workers Member of Parliament and former Sports State Minister Hon Charles Bakkabulindi for paramount role played in the welfare of workers and capacity building of the labour unions. Workers Member of Parliament and former Sports State Minister Hon Charles Bakkabulindi extended special thanks to trade union leaders who have always elected him to the National Assembly. He said trade union leaders elected him to represent workers in the House and not to become a Minister, but hastened to add that the appointment by President Museveni to cabinet was a bonus to the workers.
“ You elected me to represent workers in the House and not to become a Minister, but my appointment by President Museveni to cabinet was a bonus to the workers,” he said. Hon Bakkabulindi assured trade union leaders that he will never let them down, adding that he would now have sufficient time to handle workers issues with the attention it requires. Mr Robert Wanzusi Matuku told the Workers Eye that they are committed to promoting unity of the workers and to foster development in the labour industry which faces many challenges.
“We are committed to promoting unity of the workers and to foster development in the labour industry which faces many challenges,” he said. The Governing Council voted unanimously to organize the strike. The full NOTU committee elected:
Board members: Former Workers Member of Parliament Hon Bruno Pajobo, Ms Teddy Nabirye, Mr Hassan Mudiba and Mr Mwamula Juma. Disciplinary Committee: Mr Frank Mugyema, Mr Francis Ochieng, Ms Florence Ssewanyana, Mr Henry Mukasa and Mr Patrick Katende. Trustees: Mr Emmanuel Bigirimana, Ms Lucy Kabengano and Mr George Wamai■