It seems very far from over for the growing rift between the two labour union movements, the National Organisation of Trade Union (NOTU) and the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU).
The Investigator has reliably learnt that apart from throwing Dr. Sam Lyomoki as the general secretary Uganda Medical Workers Union (UMWU) last week, the disgruntled union members who are now affiliated to the rival NOTU have also dragged Lyomoki to court. The Investigator can reveal that Lyomoki has been summoned to appear before the High Court tomorrow (Friday February 17 2017) at 9am. Aggrey Sanya who filed the case says Lyomoki will be arrested if he snubs court summons. By end of business on Wednesday, Lyomoki’s lawyers, Alex and Companies Advocates had not yet filed any defense.
Why has Lyomoki been dragged to court?
According to Christopher Werikhe, the Secretary General NOTU, Lyomoki will answer charges of contempt of court. On 2011 the high court ruling made by Justice Kibuuka Musoke ruled that it was illegal for Dr. Sam Lyomoki to continue holding two positions of general secretary Uganda Medical Workers Union and Secretary General COFTU. Justice Kibbuka ruled that he relinquishes one, something that he snubbed.
Last week the National Executive Committee, the highest decision making organ of Uganda Medical Workers Union met at Eureka Place Hotel in Ntinda and booted him out. Despite this, Lyomoki has still gone about holding meetings on behalf of UMWU something that Sanya says is illegal. Sanya now the acting general secretary UMWU applied for an interim court order that was granted stopping Lyomoki from engaging in any activities to do with UMWU until the main case that is slated for March 6 2017 is disposed off. On Saturday Lyomoki narrowly survived being arrested as he held an illegal meeting at Gardens Hotel in Kawempe. When he heard of the presence of police he vanished in thin air.
Huge costs await
NOTU Secretary General Christopher Werihke told the Investigator that Dr. Sam Lyomoki will have to pay a huge price. ‘Now so far almost all his COFTU members have left and affiliated to NOTU. As I speak he has just about five (5) members left. The majority have joined NOTU. These five include the unions headed by his relatives such as the University Union headed by one Isaac Magola his blood brother, a lecturer at MUBS that is not a member to any union, Uganda Microfinance Union headed by one Kimbugwe a sub county chief in Kibuuku, then the Parastatal Union headed by a one Katoko who works with URA and is not a member of the Union since URA doesn’t allow unions, then the science union headed by Keno Robert who is a close clansman to Lyomoki. The last one is Agro-farm headed by Nelson Wafana an accounts clerk with Medical workers Union.
But he is still masquerading. He either succumbs or joins us or he will be left alone.” Lyomoki will also according to the filed case be required to refund all the monies that he signed for as general secretary UMWU from 2011, that The Investigator has learnt established is to the tune of over UGX 1 billion since 2011 when court ruled that he ceases being the general secretary of UMWU. ‘Apart from refunding that money that was used under illegalities, All activities that Lyomoki signed as general secretary after the December 16 2011 court ruling are null and void.”
Lyomoki has remained adamant and still insists he is the general secretary of UMWU. ‘Those are just street boys bought by NOTU to confuse us. COFTU is still very strong. We shall challenge them in court,” boasted Lyomoki. He said a bunch of street thugs cannot dislodge him as general secretary Uganda Medical Workers Union.
But when contacted on Thursday, NOTU Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere described Lyomoki’s utterances as ‘the last kicks of a dying horse.’ “He Lyomoki is wasting time. The Governing council of NOTU on Wednesday sat at Eureka Place in Ntinda and officially admitted 10 unions that defected from COFTU. More are coming this week, so what is he talking about,” said Owere.
The Investigator learnt that the 10 unions that had over 100,000 workers included: The Uganda Medical Workers Union (the biggest and backbone of COFTU), Uganda Hotels, Food, Tourism, Super Markets and Allied Workers, the National Union of Infrastructure, Civil and Wood workers, Uganda Textile, Garmet, Leather and Allied Workers Union, Uganda Printers, Paper, Polyfibre and Allied Workers Union, Uganda Civil Society Organisation Workers Union, Uganda Private Teachers Union, Uganda Bottling, Bakes, Millers and Allied Workers Union, Uganda Local Government Workers Union and the National Union of Creative, Performing Artists and Allied Workers.
Robert Wanzusi from the Uganda Infrastructural Workers Union revealed to The Investigator that the merger had also helped resolve the rift that was existing between the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union. “There was a split in this union, but as we speak we called them and they came and agreed to unite again as one, and that is the union voice that we need as workers in Uganda,” said Wanzusi