Embattled Dr Samuel Oledo Odongo has obtained temporary relief after the High court blocked his suspension from the Uganda Medical Association (UMA).
Oledo rose to national prominence last month when he led a group of intern doctors to kneel and plead for President Yoweri Museveni to stand again for the presidency in 2026. Subsequently, an extraordinary assembly convened on December 6, suspended Oledo as UMA president, replacing him with his deputy Edith Nakku-Joloba.
UMA members accused Oledo of engaging in partisan politics in breach of their association constitution. Oledo who has since received support from Museveni himself and the ruling National Resistance Movement ran to court seeking declaratory orders and other judicial review orders to quash the decision of suspending him as the UMA president, saying the suspension is illegal, and procedurally improper, and against the rules of natural justice Today, Thursday Justice Musa Ssekaana stopped UMA, its agents, or any other person from implementing the December 6 resolution.
“A temporary injunction issues restraining the respondent, her agents or employees, and any other persons claiming under her from the implementation of resolutions dated 6th December 2022 and this court stays whatever was done on 18th December 2022 until the main cause is disposed of,” said Ssekaana.
Oledo told court that there is an imminent threat that UMA will or has started implementing the resolutions by appointing an acting president to his detriment. He noted that the respondent’s resolutions were scheduled for implementation within 5 and 21 working days and if no injunction is granted, other actions will result in other negative resolutions.
However, in his affidavit as the UMA secretary general, Dr Herbert Luswata noted that Uganda Medical Association is a nonexistent legal entity with no legal existence and capacity to be sued and as such, no legal action can be instituted or maintained.
He also noted that on December 5, he received a request to call for an extraordinary general assembly by paid-up UMA complaining that Oledo led a group of unsuspecting medical students, pre-interns, and a few interns donning clinical coats to a national youth event at Kololo independence grounds, the majority of whom were not members of UMA.
The members also accused Oledo of mobilizing medical students through their umbrella body the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) with promises of getting them refreshments and a photo opportunity with President Museveni and that he was fully aware of the request for an extraordinary general assembly where his alleged conduct would be discussed and rushed to prematurely file the application in an attempt to frustrate his censure motion.
Dr Luswata noted that Oledo had notice of the extraordinary general assembly that was duly convened and passed resolutions removing him from office.
“The application has been overtaken by events and there is no status quo to maintain,” he argued in his affidavit.
In his ruling, Ssekaana noted that the court didn’t find it fit and proper to determine the preliminary objectives raised by UMA’s counsel without sufficient evidence. He also dismissed claims that UMA is not a legal entity in Uganda.
“I wish to take judicial notice of the fact that the respondent is indeed a registered entity with a certificate of registration under the laws of Uganda in the name of Uganda Medical Association Limited. I do not understand the basis of the respondent’s argument or contention that the respondent is a nonexistent legal entity with no legal existence or capacity to sue or be sued,” said Ssekaana.
He also noted that the applicant’s term of office as the duly elected president of UMA has been interrupted and this is a greater inconvenience caused to him if the temporary injunction is not issued he may lose an opportunity, which may have been filled by a third party since UMA has attempted to have him replaced.