KAMPALA – The Deputy Solicitor General Christopher Gashirabake has been dragged to court by a former Senior State Attorney, Samantha Mwesigye, for sexually harassing her for 10 years as well as termination from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
This came after the Labour Office under the Directorate of Gender, Community Services and Production at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) reviewed the case filed by Mwesigye in September 2019, and concluded that the entity had no powers to award the remedies sought by Mwesigye.
“Given that the Labour office has no powers to award the remedies sought, the claimant through her representatives asked the matter to be forwarded to the industrial court. The Labour office is of the opinion that a substantial question of law or fact has arisen in the proceedings and is therefore unable to resolve the dispute,” read in part the Labour office’s letter.
Mwesigye has sought court interpretation on whether her termination was unfair and unlawful and whether she was entitled to remedies following her termination and sexual harassment at the hands of Gash.
The development comes three months after the Committee set up by the Ministry of Justice to investigate Mwesigye’s sexual harassment claims exonerated Gash, on grounds that there was no evidence that Mwesigye had no avenues to report the alleged harassment for a decade.
In its July 2019 report, the Committee argued that from 2007, the office of the Solicitor General has been held by five different solicitor generals, two of whom were female and that all these were senior to and supervised Gash.
The Committee further noted that there were other ladies who held positions as directors and were senior or at the same level of seniority with the respondent, “It is the observation of the committee that the complainant had all avenues to report sexual harassment but chose not to do so.”
Responding to Mwesigye’s claims of denial for travel opportunities abroad as a form of victimisation to seek sexual favours, the Committee described her complaint as more of a demand for additional travels than a complaint of sexual harassment.
The Committee noted, “There was no evidence of implied or express promise of preferential treatment or a threat of detrimental treatment. There was no evidence that the bulk of nominations signed by the respondent were done in order to procure or after receiving sexual favours.”
Mwesigye accused Gash of deliberately withdrawing her from various contract committees where she was a member like; Privatisation Unit, Cotton Development Organization, Uganda National Cultural Center and the Office of the Prime Minister.
However, the Committee said there was no victimisation occasioned, saying it was strange for Mwesigye to use this allegation to insinuate sexual harassment because when a contracts committee has no work, one ceases to be a member.
Mwesigye also accused Gash of bombarding her with love WhatsApp messages, a claim the Committee rejected stating that Whatsapp messages are encrypted, making verification from telecoms difficult.
She was also accused of failing to prove whether the WhatsApp messages were printed from her cellphone or otherwise and Gash was also required to provide his cell phone for purposes of comparison, but Mwesigye declined to appear before the Committee and when Gash appeared, he denied sending ‘love you’ message with the Committee concluding that Mwesigye failed to prove the case of sexual harassment against Gash.