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High Court Dismisses Case Challenging Re-appointment Of NSSF Top Management

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Justice Lydia Mugambe of High Court Civil Division has dismissed the case in which a one Vincent Kibanja had petitioned the High Court seeking to block the re-appointment of Richard Byarugaba and Geraldine Ssali as National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director respectively.

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During a court ruling delivered on Friday May 29, 2015 at High Court Civil Division, Justice Mugambe said the appointments did not merit a judicial review.

“In my judgment, the appointing authority – the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has discretionary and statutory powers to appoint the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director. I find nothing illegal, irrational and improper. The Minister was merely fulfilling her mandate,” she said.

“In fact, I don’t see how the reappointment of Byarugaba and Ssali will in any way affect Kibanja’s contribution to the Fund. I therefore believe that the entire case and argument of Byarugaba and Ssali not being the right candidates to manage NSSF is misconceived,” Mugambe said.

In Application No. 175, filed in the High Court on 21st November 2014, Kibanja, who described himself as “a concerned NSSF contributor” had asked court to cancel the appointment of Byarugaba and Ssali as Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director respectively, arguing that Maria Kiwanuka, who was the Minister of Finance at the time, had acted irrationally because the appointed managers were not the best-performing candidates in the interviews conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the NSSF Board of Directors.

However Judge Mugambe rubbished the allegations arguing that the NSSF Act gives the Finance Minister absolute powers to appoint the MD and Deputy MD.

Section 39 of the NSSF Act reads: “There shall be a managing director and deputy managing Director of the Fund who shall be appointed by the Minister for such period and on such terms and conditions as the Minister may deem fit.”

Sections 40 and 41 also give the minister unrestricted powers on the appointment of the Deputy Managing Director and Corporation Secretary.

Kibanja was represented by Enos Tumusiime while the Attorney General was represented by Principal State Attorney Patricia Mutesi.

Mutesi had previously dismissed the allegations by Kibanja, arguing that the vetting process by PWC was not tantamount to the Minister delegating her statutory powers to appoint NSSF management. She argued that the role of PWC was to identify a pool of candidates to recommend to the board, who would in turn recommend the best candidates to the minister, but the decision to appoint the final managers was always the exclusive responsibility of the minister.

On the issue of whether the reports arising out of a previous investigations by the IGG, Justice Mugambe said that nothing in the reports by the IGG pointed to the fact the Byarugaba and Ssali were involved in any misconduct and therefore should not be re-appointed to head NSSF.

“I have looked at the two reports and nowhere in the reports are the two candidates indulged in any misconduct. The point I am making is that the IGG did not make that sort of recommendation,” she said.

On the allegation that the appointment of the Byarugaba and Ssali would affect the interests of Kibanja as a saver with NSSF, Justice Mugambe said that such an “allegation was largely speculative and presumptuous”.

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Unwrapping The Domestic Workers Business; Opportunities, Challenges & Solutions

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By Amon Baita

A domestic worker (call it housemaid) earns an average of Shs100, 000 per month in Uganda. This means that the person earns a paltry Shs1.2m in a year despite the many needs to spend on.

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On the contrary, the same worker in the Middle East countries earns an average of Shs900, 000 per month, implying that the person will bag about Shs10.8m (Ten million two hundred thousand shillings) in a year.

The wage disparity between the two countries is quite huge.

But a worker in the Middle East is entitled to other benefits as provided under the law that include free accommodation, free food, medical insurance and bonuses. When these benefits are converted into monetary terms, it’s clear the employer in Middle East countries spends so much on a domestic worker compared to Uganda.

The availability of opportunities to work as a domestic worker in Middle East countries has transformed lives of many Ugandans who had no hope of getting out of their miserable poor conditions.

They are now able to save, invest in businesses and acquire property.

Many of these are not so much educated; you just need to communicate in English and ready to work to get the job.

Factors pushing Ugandans to go work as domestic workers include poverty of the households, early pregnancies and broken families.

Domestic workers are approximately 30% of all migrant employees in the Middle East.

Uganda association for External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) is doing a great job to ensure domestic workers from Uganda are treated well and work under better conditions.

UAERA’s cardinal objective is to keep/ get these youths off the streets, train and put them into productive employment through which they are able to contribute to nation building and development.

Given the high unemployment levels in Uganda, it is justfiavle for Ugandans to seek for greener pastures abroad.

What is important now is government to join UAERA in streamlining the externalization of labour.

Research shows that countries that have imposed restrictions on the movement of migrant workers have ended up with more of their people being trafficked and ending up in miserable situations.

It is good news that Uganda has already signed two bilateral labour agreements; with The Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Between Jan-2016 and Jul 2017, Uganda imposed a ban on externalization of domestic workers due to many reported cases in social and mainstream media of mistreatment of Ugandan girls in the host countries especially Saudi Arabia.

However, during the same period, 30,000 (Thirty thousand) Ugandan ladies were either trafficked or left on their own to Oman and other destinations.

Currently, Oman is not an authorized destination of Uganda female domestic workers. Ugandan male workers and female professionals are permitted to work anywhere in the world as long as there is proof of availability of genuine employment.

The other countries in the Middle East have also strengthened their labour laws for protection of the workers’ human rights.

These measures have in turn tremendously improved the conditions of migrant workers.

Opinion leaders like politicians, religious leaders, civil society and the general public ought to know that there’s a distinction between safe labour migration and trafficking of persons.

Trafficked people carry the risk of going to the unknown destinations and therefore end up mistreated, tortured and dead in some cases.

That’s why UAERA and government are emphasizing that Ugandans seeking jobs abroad should travel through genuine licensed companies.

Ugandans who go through members companies of UAERA are captured in the digitalized system, monitored and protected.

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has led to the introduction of digitization that has revolutionized the processes of recruitment and monitoring of workers from Uganda in the destination countries.

Regulation and continued guidance about the industry and establishment of a labor liaison office is also a step in the right direction in as far as streamlining externalization of labour is concerned.

Mosaned, an online monitoring system that is used to manage the recruitment process was introduced as well as a four party standard employment contract which is signed by employer, employee, Source Company and Destination Company.

The labour dispute and settlement centres have also been established in several cities of Saudi Arabia manned by judges but also hefty penalties for employers who violate employees’ human rights have been put in place.

Government has also established a human rights department at the domestic center of the ministry of labour boosted by establishment of call centres to respond to labour complaints.

Establishment of Reception centers with medical facilities in major cities to cater for workers who may be distressed, stranded or unwell are also in place.

It’s also compulsory for a domestic worker to be provided with a mobile phones so that they can easily and freely communicate with their people back home.

Termination of the contract is also acceptable in case either party is not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the contract.

Lastly, there is provision of return air tickets by the government of Saudi Arabia to returning workers who may find challenges and are compelled to leave the country as well as compulsory opening of bank accounts for all migrant workers and payment of wages through the banks.

Challenges to the Industry

Adventurers

These are youth who venture on their own to find jobs abroad. They travel on tourists /Visit visas and many of them fail to get the jobs before the expiry of their visas.

Others run out of money and get stranded, send messages on social media about torture and cause public anxiety.

Human Trafficking

Due to lack of information about formal channels of getting employment abroad, many youths are lured by human traffickers , who smuggle the victims and end up in difficult situations in countries of destination.

Negative Publicity

As a result of human trafficking and adventurism, the media portrays labour externalization as risky, dangerous and fake.

UAERA has strengthened the secretariat to sensitize the public about the externalization of labour; it is safe and paying if one goes through licensed companies.

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Former BigEye.ug writer Jonah Kirabo set to represent Uganda in Turkey

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By Staff Writer

Former BigEye.ug writer and journalist, Jonah Kirabo is set to represent Uganda in a Turkish annual leadership conference, this website has confirmed.

Named LOCALINTERNational Conference, the programme gathers recent university graduates every year in Turkey’s capital city; Ankara as well as other cities in Turkey such as Istanbul among others to provide graduates with local governance training through instructions, practical governance and field visits including social activities and trips within Turkey and all expenses are covered by Turkey’s Union of Municipalities.

This will be the first time that a Ugandan is selected to attend this conference that happens every year since 2012.

An excited Jonah Kirabo took to his social media to announce the milestone saying that he owes his success to God as over 10 Ugandan’s applied for the opportunity but it was only him that was chosen.

“Proud to be the first ever Ugandan to be selected to attend the LOCALINTERNational Conference that is hosted annually in Turkey since 2012. Over 10 Ugandans applied this year but I was the only one who was selected to join the other 41 recent graduates from Europe, Asia, South American and Africa,” Jonah said in part.

He told this website that he hopes to use the skills from the conference to boast his journalism and leadership skills when he is back.

The conference will take place in Turkey between 18th – 29th August 2019.

*About Jonah Kirabo*

Aged 22, Jonah Kirabo is a recent graduate of Business Administration from Makerere University.

Despite pursing a business degree, Jonah has always had a passion for journalism and leadership. While at Campus, he worked as news reporter for several blogs and local websites including BigEye.ug and Campus Eye before joining the Nile Post where he is currently employed.

He is also a current student of journalism and media at the Kansanga based Media Challenge Initiative.

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Engineer Peterson Mwesigwa Is Once Again Overall Best Student at LDC

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By Staff Writer

Peterson Mwesigwa could be the most intelligent Ugandan alive today. He holds a Masters Degree in Electrical and Computer Technology.

Two years back, he was the first person to get a first class Degree at the Law School after over a decade of only second class degrees.

Now Mwesigwa is also the top student at this year’s graduating platform. He was awarded for topping everyone. He is surely an exceptional achiever.

A man standing at the interesection of the arts and sciences. An Engineer and now a lawyer.

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