Senior state attorney in sexual harassment case asked to explain absence

Tuesday September 17 2019

Samantha Mwesigye, a Senior State Attorney in

Samantha Mwesigye, a Senior State Attorney in the ministry of Justice named her alleged tormentor as Christopher Gashirabake, a Deputy Solicitor General 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

Kampala. The Solicitor General, Mr Francis Atoke, has written to the senior state attorney in the sexual harassment case to explain why she absconded from duty for more than seven months.

In his August 30 notice, Mr Atwoki states that Ms Samantha Mwesigye laid down her tools before the investigations into the case she had lodged against her former supervisor, Mr Christopher Gashirabake, could be completed.
The Solicitor General said her actions were against the Public Service Standing Orders since she did not even notify her immediate supervisor.

“On December 20, 2018, you wrote to me raising concern on how management has been slow in handling your complaint of sexual harassment against your former supervisor. As the procedure of handling your case was being finalised, you laid down tools and stopped reporting for work in contravention of Appendix F-5 (4,3) of the Public Service Standing Orders 2010,” Mr Atoke wrote.
The Solicitor General has since given Ms Mwesigye 14 days to explain herself.
Ms Mwesigye had accused her supervisor, who also doubles as deputy solicitor general, of sexually harassing her for the last 10 years.
She had accused Mr Gashirabake of denying her travel opportunities and ridiculing her.

Cleared
However, a four-member committee instituted to investigate these allegations recently cleared Mr Gashirabake of any wrongdoing after Ms Mwesigye allegedly failed to show up in the committee to substantiate her sexual harassment claims.
The ministry has also since deleted Ms Mwesigye’s name from government payroll.

However, in her response to the Solicitor General’s letter, Ms Mwesigye said she was never given an opportunity to resume duty within 30 days before being deemed to have abandoned work.
“Once an industrial action is invoked, it follows as a direct consequence that one is not working and therefore, not in the ordinary course of employment. It is also curious how I was expected to inform my supervisor of my absence from duty...,” Ms Mwesigye stated.

“At the time I invoked my labour right to industrial action due to dilatory conduct of my employer in failing to address my complaint, the respondent (Mr Gashirabake) was still my supervisor. The above has effect of forfeiture of rights and privileges attached to my office and its therefore, curious under which rules I am required to address this request to respond to an allegation of absence from duty without permission,” she added.
Ms Mwesigye also indicated her intention to seek legal redress over the matter.

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awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

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