Makerere University has cut off power and water supply to the residence of Eng Frank Kitumba, the former director Directorate for ICT Support (DICTS), a few days after the Industrial court stayed his eviction. Kitumba occupies house number 138 Fig Tree lane in Makerere University main campus.
Sources in the university say employees from the estates and works department accessed Kitumba’s residence on Monday evening under the instruction of the acting deputy vice chancellor, Prof William Bazeyo and removed the water and electricity meters - effectively cutting off supply.
“They said they were forced. They had to do it unwillingly for fear of suspension. I visited the family at night and I confirmed they had also removed the Yaka-meter,” a professor told URN on Tuesday morning on condition of anonymity. Adding that, “They also took the power meter from the electricity pole together with the connection cable.”
Dr Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke, the acting manager communications and international relations said that he'd heard about the matter. “You know I heard about it last evening, let me reach campus and establish the facts on the ground then I will give you concrete information,” he said.
Kitumba’s lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde said: “This is unbelievably sad but true.” According to Ssemakadde, the actions of the vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe and his deputy contravene the order from the Labour officer.
"This confirms our criticism of the Nawangwe’s administration. They can be so petty and vindictive. It's high time somebody cracked the whip on Nawangwe and Bazeyo for their contempt of the law and human rights violations,” Ssemakadde told URN.
Adding that, “For the umpteenth time this year. The two have endorsed malicious and humiliating actions against a former high ranking staffer at Makerere University.”
Ssemakadde avers that, by failing to rein in on their subordinates in the estates and works department, the Nawangwe administration has set a very bad precedent for labour relations.
“No staff living in university accommodations is safe and secure from these goons who can invade your home and destroy critical health, safety and security infrastructure with impunity,” Ssemakadde observed.
Last week, Ruth Kulabako, the labour officer in charge of Kawempe Division faulted Makerere university authorities for executing the eviction unlawfully. Ssemakadde maintains that his client, Kitumba is occupying the house legally since he has not been officially sent out by the university.
Section 43 (5) of the Employment Act stipulates that where an employee is being housed by the employer, he/she shall not be required to vacate the premises until his/her terminal benefits are paid.
The same Act provides for the payment of an employee’s wages and any other remuneration and accrued benefits to which he or she is entitled to in case of termination of his or her employment. There are reports that during the attempted eviction on Friday, part of Kitumba's property was damaged and stolen.
According to Kitumba, the university owes him a lumpsum payment of his salary and gratuity arrears amounting to over Shs 200 million as required by law. Kitumba and Nawangwe have clashed before after the former advised government to take over Makerere University's revenues citing under declaration by the authorities that Nawangwe heads.