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How Former ICT Director Fell Out With Mak Adminstration

Eng. Frank Kitumba was evicted by a team from the University Estates, Works Directorate, security guards and police officers in what his lawyers described the eviction as unfortunate and contempt of the law.
Eng. Frank Kitumba (in set) with his properties outside his university residence following is forceful eviction on Friday
Last week, Eng Frank Kitumba, the former Director Directorate for Information and Communication Technology Support at Makerere University, was evicted from the university house.

He was evicted by a team from the University Estates, Works Directorate, security guards and police officers in what his lawyers described the eviction as unfortunate and contempt of the law.

Eng. Kitumba was employed on contractual basis by the university since December 1, 2012, as a Director for Information and Communication Technology Support (DICTS).      

Prior to his appointment to this administrative position, Eng. Kitumba has served as the Planning and Maintenance Manager in the same directorate since 2010.  

This office then attracted a monthly salary of 3.3million shillings, renewable upon satisfactory performance appraisal. This is according to Kitumba’s contract, which URN reporter has seen.  

As per the provisions, at the end of the contract, the university would provide transport to him and his family back home.  

Upon expiry of the contract, Kitumba’s contract was extended by the then Human Resources Director Dorothy Sennoga Zake for three months. This was effective December 1, 2017 to end of February 2018, leaving the rest of his terms and conditions of service as per the expired contract unaltered.  

On February 24th 2018, Eng. Kitumba notified the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe of the expiry of his three months’ contract extension as a director.  

In the same letter, he sought an extension of the same. In her March 6th response the Human Resources Director confirmed to Kitumba of his contract extension.  

“The Chairperson, Appointments Board and Vice-Chancellor has authorized extension of your contract as Director, Directorate for Information and Communication Technology Support, Makerere University effective 1st March 2018, until a substantive Director is appointed,” Dorothy Ssenoga stated in a letter. 

In a breach of employment contract complaint to the Kawempe Division Labour Officer of the City Authority –KCCA, Kitumba’s lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde says without appraising Kitumba in line with the employment contract, the university went ahead and advertised the job position and carried out interviews after which it later appointed a substantive Director.  

“Our client is aggrieved by the circumstances under which the university terminated his employment contract and contends that the purported termination was unjustified, unfair, wrongful and unlawful,” Ssemakadde discloses.  

Under the employment contract of Eng. Kitumba, there was a clause on possibility of renewal upon appraisal which the lawyer says was a legitimate expectation by his client. 

During the subsistence of Kitumba’s employment with Makerere University, government introduced “Science Money” payable to all science teachers and all public servants with a science background. This was in 2010.  

This money, however, was not paid to staff of the directorate of ICT Support –DICTS at Makerere. The staff are said to have threatened to go on strike but were stopped by Kitumba.  

The director during his tenure contacted the ministry of public service in a correspondence dated October 24th, 2016 requesting for an explanation and instruction on failure to implement science money for employees of the directorate.  

In his response, Emmanuel Freddie Mugunga, the then Public Service Ministry’s undersecretary clarified to the Makerere’s University Secretary that officers deployed to handle computer technology-related jobs were considered to science, hence paid a science scale.  

Mugunga referred the university authorities to Circular Standing Instruction number 3 of 2010 directing the university to take action.  

Following an emergency meeting between university management and DICTS staff on January 16, 2017, Augustine Tamale, the then university bursar communicated remuneration guidelines directing that the staff be paid as scientists beginning January 2017, excluding payments for all years the science money was sent to the university by government.  

On December 31st 2018, Eng. Kitumba wrote to the Director Human Resource of the university seeking expressing urgent need for payment of his gratuity and science money arrears.  

In a request to the University Kitumba sought to receive his gratuity for months of December 2017, January, February, March, April, all of 2018. 

His lawyers Stanley Okecho and Ssemakadde, however, maintain the university has denied his rightful entitlements despite clarification by the ministry of public service.  

Kitumba says the university paid him only six months out of the total nine years he was in employment at Makerere.  

While section 43(5) of the Employment Act, 2006 stipulates that an employee is not required to vacate the premises until he or she has been paid his or her terminal benefits where the employee is being housed by the employer.  

Kitumba demands payment of 200million shillings as salary arrears for science money from 2010 up to the date of non-renewal.  

“In utter disregard for the law, the University has consistently sent eviction notices to our client requiring him to vacate the premises without having paid all his ‘science money’ arrears,” his lawyers say.  

In a February 21, 2019 notice, Professor Eria Hisali, the then Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration asked the former director to vacate the house as it had been allocated to Associate Professor Ernest Okello Ogwang, the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs.  

“Kindly arrange to formally handover the house to the University Housing overseer within the stipulated period of time as NO further warning will be given to you,” Professor Hisali writes.  

Kitumba also received a last reminder to vacate the premises on April 9, 2019 from Professor William Bazeyo, the now acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration.  

“I have received information from the Finance Department that they have been trying to contact you to activate your Supplier number to enable them pay your gratuity but in vain. This is to further request you to vacate the house. Failure to adhere to this will leave Management with no option but to evict you,” Professor Bazeyo.  

In a hostile tit-for-tat exchange, university authorities sent employees from the Estates and Works Department in a joint operation with Uganda Police officers on Friday to evict the former staff.  

After being blocked by the KCCA industrial court’s to cease evicting Kitumba, the university disconnected the water and electricity meters effectively cutting off supply.  

Meanwhile, KCCA labour court is yet to determine his application of breach of employment contract.                        

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