Security guards block Notu boss from accessing office

Mr Usher Wilson Owere, the chairman of Notu

What you need to know:

  • The guards, who were standing in front of the gate to the office, told Mr Owere, who was accompanied by a section of Notu members, that they had been instructed not to let anyone inside the premises.

Private security guards yesterday temporarily blocked the embattled National Organisation of Trade Unions (Notu) chairman general Usher Wilson Owere from accessing the institution’s offices in Kyaliwajala, a Kampala suburb, where he had planned to address journalists about the leadership squabbles at the unions umbrella body.

The guards, who were standing in front of the gate to the office, told Mr Owere, who was accompanied by a section of Notu members, that they had been instructed not to let anyone inside the premises.

After a few minutes, Mr Owere headed to Kyaliwajala Police Post, where he was given about 10 police officers to intervene

It was after the police intervention that Mr Owere and his team were let in. He, however, addressed journalists from the veranda of the office building as he could not access some office space.

Mr Owere, however, said most of the offices were locked because majority of their staff had travelled to Mbarara for a retreat.

On Tuesday, a total of 24 out of 34 workers’ unions under Notu passed a vote of no confidence in Mr Owere as the body’s chairman general.

During a general council meeting at a tightly-guarded hotel in Kampala yesterday, the unions accused Mr Owere of incompetence, dictatorship and intrigue.

Mr Owere’s vice chairperson, Mr Stephen Mugole, was voted as the acting chairperson general.

Mr Richard Bigirwa was voted as the acting secretary general to replace Mr Peter Werikhe, who stepped down at will.

Others are Mr Moses Mauku, who was elected acting treasurer general, and Ms Barbra Bandaru as the acting deputy treasurer general.

During the press conference yesterday, Mr Owere tasked Mr Werikhe to first account for all the institution’s finances before he steps down as Notu secretary general.

Mr Robert Matukhu, the National Union of Infrastructural, Civil Works and Wood secretary general, said Uganda has suffered as a result of poor leadership among trade unions and that Notu is suffering because of poor leadership.

“Our people are suffering because the leadership itself has no direction. When Mr Owere raises up to put things in order, they call him a dictator,” he said.

Mr Hassan Mudiba, the secretary general of the Uganda Local Government Workers Union (ULGWU), said the friction among the unions’ top leaders is undesirable.

“We have people who have been holding offices in Notu and they made some mistakes, and after failing to give accountability, they opted for a shortcut by resigning. We are saying before you resign, give us accountability for the period you were in office,” he said.

He added: “Mr Werikhe has been a secretary general. The [Notu] constitution does not require him to resign after becoming a Member of Parliament. Let him just account to the members before he resigns.”

Mr Werikhe was elected MP for Bubulo West in Manafwa District in the 2021 elections.

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