KAMPALA —Trouble is brewing at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) after the board secretary, Mr Andrew Kilama Lajul, declined to hand over office on the directive of the Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira.
Mr Kilama claims that Dr Iyamulemye does not have powers to sack him and has appealed to the UCDA board to make a decision on the matter.
In a September 30 letter, Dr Lyamulemye wrote to Mr Lajul, indicating that the UCDA board of directors decided not to renew his employment contract despite his request.
“This is therefore to request you to make arrangements to handover office and other items under your possession to the Finance Manager within seven days from date of receipt of this letter,” wrote Dr Iyamulemye directing the Human Resource manager to guide on the appropriate procedures in line with the manual.
On October 1, Dr Iyamulemye issued an office memo, informing all staff of the new changes. He directed that the Finance manager, Ms Nina Nassuna, will be handling the functions of director corporate services while Ms Eunice Kabibi will handle board matters on top of her duties of legal manager.
In response, Mr Kilama asked the UCDA staff to disregard the memo, saying no decision regarding renewal of his contract has been taken.
“As you are aware, the power to appoint and terminate employment contracts of managers and above rest with the board. There are two statutory executive positions in UCDA, that is the MD and the board secretary,” wrote Mr Kilama insisting that the board is obliged to follow established rules and procedures.
According to an email, Kilama said that the MD does not have any power to appoint anyone in acting position at that level and hence the status quo remained until the board takes a decision.
A senior official at UCDA who declined to be named revealed that Dr Iyamulemye’s communication came through at the time when the board chairman, Mr Perez Bukumunhe was out of the country.
“The board secretary is the second high ranking person in the management at UCDA and MD has no powers but it is impunity being applied. This has caused tension and fear because even before expiry of seven days, door locks were changed to block Lajul from office and he is disabled from email,” said a source who works in a senior position.
In an interview, Mr Kilama confirmed receiving a letter communicating a board decision on non-renewal of his contract but described it ‘as surprise.’
“It is unfortunate that the processes were flouted but to the best of my knowledge, I am still the UCDA board secretary,” he said without divulging the details.
When contacted, Dr Iyamulemye said that the board took a decision not to renew Mr Lajul and that he has no contract after his tenure expired.
Sources at UCDA say that the throwing out of Kilama is one of the many cases of unwarranted dismissals and other mistreatment of senior officials at the entity.
It is alleged both KIlama and his boss, Iyamulemye have had bad blood for the last three years and the later is using it as an opportunity to fulfill his personal mission.