24 February 2024

tndNews

North's First

Letter: Booting of Usher Owere from NOTU has been long overdue

NOTU that was established by Decree No. 29 of 1973 Act of Government during Idi Amin’s regimes is mandated to advocate and protect workers’ rights in the formal and informal sectors of work, enhance capacity building of workers’ unions for sustainable development and growth,
notu

Usher Wilson Owere. Photo by Grapevine.

Last Updated on: 21st November 2022, 12:36 pm

NOTU leadership takes advantage of the misery of workers and creates the economic, political, and social climate that dominates affairs of workers at all levels of government.


By James William Mugeni

USA, November 21, 2022: Editor, the booting of Usher Wilson Owere as the chairman general of the National Organization of Trade Union (NOTU) has been long overdue. It is not only Owere but his entire system that created mediocrity in the civil servant. They must go to give way for civil servants to create a pro-workers and a pro people civil service.

Owere is just one of a kind and we pray that labor unions in Uganda are waking up. Civil service reforms are a must, and they must be good enough to hold the government accountable since they too are part of public administration.

Uganda’s civil servants are indeed a sad story: they are not any different from a national picture where poverty is a resource. Karamoja, the poorest sub-region of Uganda as an example and heavily represented by 25 Members of Parliament who are NRM. What do we see from this heavy representation of Karamoja? Stories of cattle rustling, stories of famine and starved people.

What of Bukedi (Tororo/Busia) , a land of limestones, phosphates, gold, and iron ore?  16 Members of Parliament who have literally come to Parliament on NRM tickets, all riding on funerals to make it to the House.

The poor civil servants especially the teachers and nurses living in squalid conditions belong to labor unions that are the backbone of NOTU and are represented by 5 Members of Parliament majority or all towing the NRM ideology.

Labor Unions are very powerful and dynamic organizations in most countries that advocate for fair treatment, respect, and pay for unionized workers. For Uganda, the political system has pocketed or rather choses who should lead the Unions for political gains – this is so sad. The workers must wrestle back power into their hands with genuine representation.

Those who booted Owere for sure could be flogging a dead horse. Usher Wilson was just a tool used by the regime to further its interests. There are people like MPs for the workers who have been running issues behind the scenes. These are the guys running the show while Owere is used to indicate that there is representation from the common man.

The Uganda professionals, well learned and skilled, have shied away from the labor unions and leave union activities to the likes of Usher Wilson Owere to fight great battles with little capacity, skill, and competence. Union leadership on many occasions are accused of settling labor matters with brown envelopes.

Living in Uganda as a civil servant can be very hard, both physically and emotionally and the reasons for this are many. Most civil servants are apolitical as they claim, and they evade politics in their day to day living as much as they can. However, can they avoid the effects of politics forever?


An estimated 14 million Ugandans suffer from a form of mental disorder, statistics from the Health Ministry and the Uganda Counseling Association have revealed. 35 out of 100 Ugandans you meet in your day-to-day activities may be battling a mental health problem. Living in Uganda can be very hard, both physically and emotionally and most civil servants lie here as they try to “ache a living”.

ALSO READ:

Mugeni says UNAA allowed Kampala to interfere with its leadership

Girl misses PLE after refusing headteacher’s directive to abort pregnancy


NOTU that was established by Decree No. 29 of 1973 Act of Government during Idi Amin’s regimes is mandated to advocate and protect workers’ rights in the formal and informal sectors of work, enhance capacity building of workers’ unions for sustainable development and growth, advocate for strong labor standards and legislation, and to offer legal services to her affiliates as a means of promoting accessible justice to vulnerable workers, among others.

The above mandates are not being implemented because the leadership has got crooks (known) who must be resisted by united workers. Isolated workers have been fighting. An example is Dr Obuku Ekwaro under Uganda Medical Association Industrial action of 2019. The recent industrial action by teachers, nurses, allied health professionals in 2022 are all a pointer to failure of NOTU leadership.

NOTU leadership takes advantage of the misery of workers and creates the economic, political, and social climate that dominates affairs of workers at all levels of government. They have connived with the government that is unmatched in the last 36 years and took advantage of the naivety of workers to create political unions not labor unions.

“Some of the challenges that have remained a thorn in the of workers is failure by the government to implement labor laws and the lack of a minimum wage policy.”


The crisis that has been accelerated by the spread of a tiny virus, a novel coronavirus (Covid-19) that burst upon the scene and with pandemic consequences is fundamentally affecting how policies and administration is conducted. The immediate future is not for these mediocres who have been running the Union on brown envelopes.

It remains to be seen if those ousting the Owere Usher Wilson Administration are not coming from trash cans to the recycle bin.

Public administration is to those who faithfully and unselfishly serve the public and conduct the people’s business, mindful of their constitutional obligations, commitment to the rule of law, and steadfast truthfulness and integrity, and fully embrace democracy as an ideal, enshrined in a culture that embraces a process by which public choices are made, and exacts a form of behavior in society that we call “democratic.”


The writer is a Certified Public Manager (MCO/CPM)

Email: wmungadi@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *