KAMPALA – State Attorney Samantha Mwesigye’s woes have turned for the worse after she was deleted from the payroll a month after a committee cleared Deputy Solicitor General Christopher Gashirabake of sexually harassing her.
Ms Mwesigye early this year accused Mr Gashirabake of sexually harassing her for more than 10 years. But Mr Gashirabake was in July cleared of the allegations following an investigation.
And now it has emerged that Ms Mwesigye has been deleted from the payroll for reportedly absconding from duty.
“One would think my harrowing experience would have stopped there but alas, this male-dominated workspace of mine has determined that as a form of punishment, I was to be deleted off the payroll. I first heard of it on August 27, a week after I resumed work and had not been given any work to do. On August 28, I then spoke to the assistant commissioner of Human Resource Department, who confirmed it wasn’t a rumour but I had been deleted from the payroll,” Ms Mwesigye said in an email to this website.
When contacted, Ms Joan Natwenda, the assistant commissioner in the human resource department in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, confirmed that Ms Mwesigye has been deleted from their payroll for being away from duty for seven months.
Ms Natwenda said the public service standing orders state that once a civil servant absconds from duty for a period of 30 days, such a staff should be struck off payroll.
“There is something she is not telling you. She wrote a letter to Solicitor General and walked away and just returned recently. Even if the investigations were going on, she should have continued to work,” she said.
On 6th February 2019, Mr Atoke constituted a Sexual Harassment Committee to investigate Mr Gashirabake after Ms Mwesigye wrote to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to act against the Deputy Solicitor General, claiming that her bosses had not helped her act on her boss, whom she claimed had sexually harassed her for nearly 10 years.
But in a report dated July 31, the committee said there was no way Ms Mwesigye could suffer sexual abuse for 10 years and lack the right channels in the ministry to report it. The committee indicated that besides, in the last 10 years, the office of the Solicitor General has been held by five different solicitor generals, two of whom were female, and wondered how Ms Mwesigye could be harassed by Mr Gashirabake, who was by then not wielding a lot of powers.
“It is the observation of the committee that the complainant had all avenues to report sexual harassment but chose not to do so. For example, from the year 2007, the office of the Solicitor General has been held by five different solicitor generals, two of whom were female. They were senior to and supervised the respondent. This was in addition to other ladies who held positions as directors and were senior or at the same level of seniority with the respondent, ” the committee report signed by the chairperson, Mr Charles Kasibayo, reads in part.
Other members are secretary Law Council Margaret Apiny, principal assistant secretary Paul Muzaale, and human resource assistant commissioner Joan Natwenda.