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Makerere University Secretary Faces Arrest Over Failure to Pay Science Money

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Kitumba was employed by the university on a five-year contract effective December 1st 2012 subject to renewal upon satisfactory performance following an appraisal. His contract expired and was extended for three years and later two months up to April 30th 2018 without any performance appraisal conducted by the University.
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Gem and Company Advocates have petitioned the Industrial Court in Kampala for an arrest warrant for Makerere University Secretary, Yusuf Kiranda for the inordinate delay to pay science fees to their client, Frank Kitumba.  

 

In their application, the lawyers led by Stanley Oketcho contend that it's now close to three months since the Industrial Court ordered in vain Makerere University to pay more than Shillings 122 million to Kitumba the immediate former Director of the Directorate of Information and Communication Technology Support –DICTS.  

Kitumba was employed by the university on a five-year contract effective December 1st 2012 subject to renewal upon satisfactory performance following an appraisal. His contract expired and was extended for three years and later two months up to April 30th 2018 without any performance appraisal conducted by the University.

 

This didn’t go down well with Kitumba on grounds that he legitimately expected employment following a fair and prompt appraisal leading to the renewal of his contract due to his satisfactory performance, which wasn’t the case. The court records also show that when the government in 2010 enhanced salaries for science teachers in all public universities by 30 percent, all the staff of DICTS were left out prompting them to petition the Public Service Ministry. 

The records also show that for the year 2011/2012, Makerere University alone received more than Shillings 7 billion as science money while the other Public Universities bagged Shillings 4 billion. After numerous complaints of nonpayment of the science monies, the Permanent Secretary of Public Service guided the university that officers deployed to handle computer technology-related jobs are considered to be scientists and hence should be paid using the science scale.

“The PS advised that the job description of the complainants are verified to determine their job content in relation to computer science and the respondent (Makerere University) takes appropriate action”, reads the court records.

 

In January 2017, Makerere University started enhancing the salaries for DICTS staff but Kitumba was never paid science money arrears and gratuity for all the years even when the government had sent the money in question.

The university went ahead of terminate Kitumba’s services but he declined to vacate the University house demanding his pay amidst eviction threats.  He decided to file a case before the Labor Office at Kawempe Division. The Labor Officer, Ruth Kulabako Namaarwa ruled in favour of Frank Kitumba. Makerere University expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling and appealed the petition in the Industrial Court.  

On July 16, 2021, the Industrial Court Judges Ruhinda Ntengye and Linda Lillian Tumusiime Mugisha partly upheld the decision of the Labor Office and accordingly directed Makerere University to pay Kitumba Shillings 31.8 million in gratuity and Shillings 90.4 million as salary arrears for science money, which the University hasn’t paid.

  

Relying on all the circular standing instructions issued by the government in 2010 and 2017, the court also found that all staff of DICTS including Kitumba were scientists and should earn in accordance with the science scale. The same court also found that it was erroneous for the University Management to only pay science monies beginning 2017 while excluding the arrears for the previous years when the monies in question were introduced.  

It's against this background that Kitumba’s lawyers want the University Secretary arrested for what they describe as inordinate delay to pay their client. Prior to their petition for the arrest warrant, Kitumba's lawyers Peace Hildah Nalumansi, says that they first wrote to him on July 28th 2021 giving him seven days to pay the court award or else they institute proceedings against him.  

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Court records show that on August 11 2021 through Javasen Kamugisha, the Director of Legal Affairs at Makerere University invited Kitumba’s lawyers for a meeting, which didn’t yield results, according to the lawyers. 

Kitumba’s lead lawyer Oketcho commended the Industrial Court decision, saying that the well-intentioned policies of the government towards hardworking scientists holding the country together should not be undermined by a few individuals in management positions at the nation’s premier university.

Oketcho has also called for a forensic audit of how this money has from the time of its inception to date been spent arguing that there are some scientists that never got to know about it while others were frustrated when they attempted to claim for it.  

When contacted about the delayed payment, Kirunda noted that Kitumba’s monies were processed on Tuesday but they were delays as they tried to ascertain how much money to deduct for his utilityy bills and rent, which everybody pays. 

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