The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Aggrey Kibenge has ordered the chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission and other senior staff to handover office immediately as their contract has expired.
In a letter dated February 19, to the Under Secretary Finance and Administration, Equal Opportunities Commission, he directs that since their contract expired and are still waiting for president’s action on the tenure of the commission on whether to extend its mandate or appoint a new one, it was prudent that the affected individuals handover over office.
The EOC boss who renounced and abandoned the use of the name Sylvia Ntambi as it appears on her national identification card and in the lieu assumed the name Sylvia Nabatanzi Muwebwa. Previously EOC boss was using Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi but now she dropped Ntambi and replace it with Nabatanzi hence adoption of Sylvia Nabantazi Muwebwa
Their contracts expired in January 2021 and the President Yoweri Museveni has not communicated his decision on whether or not he will renew some of them.
PS Kibenge says the commissioners were supposed to hand over office on February 5 but this ceremony was postponed.
However, in a February 19 letter to the Under Secretary in the Ministry directs that officials, with the exception of Mr Joel Cox Ojuko should hand over handover immediately. Mr Ojuko had complained that his contract runs out in July 2021 and not January 2021 as the other officers. The PS said Mr Ojuko can meanwhile remain in office as they look into his matter.
“You are also aware that Mr Joel Cox Ojuko, EOC Vice Chairperson, vide his letter No. HRM/300/305/03 of 29th January, 2021, argued that the expiry date of his contract is not 19th January 2021 (asit is for all EOC members) but 8th July 2021, going by both his appointment instrument and the date of taking oath for assumption of duty. I have since written to, though yet to get feedback from, the Solicitor General to clarify whether Mr Ojuko can unilaterally remain and execute his duties as EOC Vice Chairperson and be remunerated as such until a new commission is appointed” Mr. Kibenge wrote.
Mr Kibenge further added “For clarity, Mr. Ojuko’s hand over should be deferred until the Solicitor General responds to our request for his opinion, although our considered view is that he cannot unilaterally constitute and exercise any of the powers of the Commission. Hopefully, the issue of either appointment of new Members or the Solicitor General’s opinion on this matter will be resolved as soon as possible. In the same vein Ms. Jane N. Ekapu, hitherto caretaking the Office of Secretary to the Commission, should also hand over to you. You will execute responsibilities of this Office until a new Commission is in place or advised otherwise. You may wish to temporarily re-assign some responsibilities to staff you have in post to facilitate smooth flow of business. Please do not hesitate to consult with myself, and/or with the Hon. Minister through my Office, on any matter that will help the uninterrupted running of the Commission’s business during this interim period”
Sylvia is grappling with corruption charges which were leveled against her in 2020.
Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi and nine others were charged for abuse of office following a complaints to President Yoweri Museveni calling for his intervention. According to a petition dated May 22, 2019, the whistleblower accused her of causing financial loss of over Shs 200 million through termination of workers contracts and forcing workers to resign and replace them with her relatives and friends.
Since she took over the chairperson-ship of the commission, the whistleblower said Mrs Ntambi has unfairly dismissed over 11 staff, terminated over 10 staff contracts, and four contracts have not been renewed. In 2017/ 2018, the Auditor General advised the commission to employ people on permanent contracts however the chairperson declined and this has since led to financial losses. However, the Director of Public Prosecution recently dropped all the charges brought against her.