Supremacy War Rocks UCDA As Board Secretary Drags Managing Director To Court

Supremacy War Rocks UCDA As Board Secretary Drags Managing Director To Court

By Our Reporter

There is a bitter supremacy war raging on between senior officials at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), which is likely to undermine government’s efforts to develop and streamline coffee business in the country.

TheSpy Uganda has established that the deadly war is between the Managing Director Emmanuel Lyamulyeme Nibigira and Andrew Kilama Lajul,  the Authority’s Board Secretary /Director Corporate Services.

Andrew Kilama’s suit

We have learnt that although the war between Lyamulyeme and Kilama had been silently raging on for years, it became manifested last month when the Managing Director unduly refused to renew Kilama’s contract despite the fact that he had no sound reason to do so. 

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Lyamulyeme wrote a letter to Kilama dated September 30, 2019 informing him about his firing, which reads in part thus; “This is to inform you that the Board of Directors has decided not to renew your employment contract. 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 the date of receipt of this letter.”

Summons to UCD and Dr. Lyamulyeme

Sources at UCDA reveal that the following day (October 1st 2019), Lyamulyeme released a general staff notice, re-echoing the same to all staff members of the changes before announcing temporary caretakers.

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“In the interim, Ms. Nina Nassuuna will be running the functions of Director Corporate Services on top of her current duties of Finance Manager; while Ms. Eunice Kabibi will handle Board matters on top her duties of Legal Manager,” the notice to staff reads.

Lyamulyeme concluded his memo with a request to members of staff to “be informed of the changes and to accord the necessary support to the new management.”

But as a result of the  standoff between the two men, Kilama has since dragged Lyamulyeme and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority to court video Miscellaneous application number 689/2019  (arising out of Miscellaneous Cause no 270 of 2019).

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In his petition before court, Kilama seeks an order declaring Lyamulyeme’s action of refusing to renew his contract and terminating his services  at UCDA null, void and illegal.

Kilama also prays to court to issue an order for UCDA and Lyamulyeme to bear costs of the suits, plus restraining Lyamulyeme from appointing other people in Acting capacity since he has no powers to do so because it only the Board that has such powers.

Kilama argues that  his contract expired on July 1st 2019 and he expressed interest to renew it . But to his shock,  he instead received a communication from the institution’s Human Resource Officer, informing him that the Managing Director had directed him to inform him that he has been given seven days to prepare, then hand over the office and vacate the premises of the institution. (Provigil) A few day later, the MD also broke into Kilama’s office and had the locks changed, on top of reportedly blocking his access to the group staff e-mail, thereby cutting him off physically and electronically the management ladder. All the above prompted Kilama to seek legal redress.

As you read this,  the High Court (Civil Division) has since issued Summons to UCDA and Lyamulyeme dated October 08,  2019, ordering UCDA and Lyamulyeme not to implement their decision to fire Kilama as communicated in their letter dated September 30, 2019 until the main suit is determined.

Court has also ordered the UCDA boss to appear in the chambers of  the presiding Judge on October 22,  2019 at exactly 12:30.

While commenting  about the saga, Kilama said; “On September 30th 2019, I received a letter from the Managing Director, informing me that the Board rejected my application and hence, I should prepare to handover office and leave the premises,” 

He added that as he waited for his application’s ‘obviously positive’ consideration, information reached him that the would-be process to assess his performance was instead turned into a disciplinary .

We have learnt that in his October 2nd 2019 official reply to Lyamulyeme and all staff members, Kilama reiterated thus; “Dear all, I have been out of town on invitation of our key stakeholders and had not been able to respond to this illegal memo. Please be informed that the UCDA Board has not taken any decision regarding the renewal of my contract.

As you’re all aware, the power to appoint and terminate employment contracts of all managers and above rest with the Board. There are two statutory executive positions in UCDA that is the Managing Director and the Board Secretary.

The Board is also obliged to follow the established rules and procedures in appointing and termination of the said positions including that of the Board Secretary. So, the Managing Director does not also have any powers to appoint anyone in acting position in that level.

So, all staff are informed that the status quo remains until the Board take a decision in a duly constituted Board Meeting or by circular resolution drawn properly and signed in accordance with the relevant law.

Given the above, I call upon all UCDA staff to remain calm and ignore execution of any illegal instructions. Our primary focus is to continue diligently serving our stakeholders as the Board as other key stakeholders seek to find amicable solution…”

UCDA is the topmost agency in the country mandated to promote and oversee the coffee industry as a whole by developing research and controlling the quality and improving the marketing of coffee and to provide for other matters connected therewith.

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