The former director directorate for ICT support (DICTS) at Makerere University, Eng Frank Kitumba has been forcefully evicted from the university house.
The university estates, works directorate and university security guards executed the order to evict Kitumba with the support of police officers on Friday. Stanley Okecho, Kitumba’s lawyer, described the eviction as unfortunate and contempt of the law. He says his client should not have been evicted without paying his outstanding arrears. According to Kitumba, the university owes him gratuity for four years when he served as the director and between Shs 150 million and Shs 200 million in salary arrears.
"The law protects these occupants of the house. Not until you have been paid, that is when you should leave. A delay on the part of the university should not inconvenience him. I have also been informed the wife has been taken to the police post at Makerere University. I don’t know which charges have been preferred but we’ll follow up from there." said Okecho.
According to Okecho, Kitumba, at a level of director, who is credited with stopping the alteration of marks through IT systems at Makerere should not have been humiliated. He said the police officers who conducted the eviction say it was authorized by Philip Acaye, the chief security officer Makerere University.
Okecho says Kitumba is demanding unpaid salary arrears and gratuity from the University.
"We approached the university notifying them of the position of the law under the Employment Act of 2006. An employee is not obliged to leave the premises if he has been housed by the employer. Still, under Frank’s contract, there is a provision for transport. Even before you give him transport, you cannot evict an employee before you have paid all his salary and terminal areas. What is going on here is a flagrant disregard of the law, it is impunity of the highest order, and I think Makerere should have done better handling some of these issues." added Okecho.
Section 43 (4) of the Employment Act stipulates that where an employee is being housed by the employer, the employee shall not be required to vacate the premises until he or she has been paid his or her terminal benefits. The same Act provides for payment of an employee’s wages, and any other remuneration and accrued benefits to which he or she is entitled in case of termination of his or her employment.
"They are evicting me out of the house before paying me as per the contract - subjecting me to such harsh treatment. They are breaching almost everything in their contract. I was guided by the lawyer about the Employment Act, anybody who is housed by government, you cannot leave until the last coin is paid. I have been staying in the house awaiting one; my gratuity for an extended period and two; the arrears for the salary money. It comes to around Shs 120 and Shs 200 million because this university, the way they allocate salaries is really gameplay." said Kitumba.
Kitumba accuses the university top management of witch-hunt and conniving to throw him out especially after clashing with the vice chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe. It is alleged that Kitumba and his colleagues recommended to government to take over all revenue collections from the university on suspicion of under-declaration by university managers.
He says that his lawyers opened a case against the university in the KCCA labour office, but the university is yet to respond.
"We have been exchanging correspondences, but the thing is, anyone who has collided with Prof Nawangwe before, he will haunt him up to the last hour. Of course, I have served this university diligently. There is no better director in the establishment of the university. I came in when results were changing, I put that to order, I came in when finance had a lot of issues, I put that to order. Students were suffering to prostitution, I put that to order. So when someone treats you like this without any due regard. Let us assume they have even paid me, where is the transport?" Kitumba said.