KAMPALA. The High Court will on January 9 start hearing a case in which sacked Makerere University Research Fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi sued the university seeking payment of her wages as per orders of the Staff Appeals Tribunal about three months ago.
The case is before Justice Lydia Mugambe Ssali.
According to Dr Nyanzi’s lawyers of Centre for Legal Aid, Makerere’s new human resource director, Mr Andrew Abuyang, will be cross-examined on the first day of the hearing.
The lawyers said they will cross-examine Mr Abuyang on why he allegedly concealed vital information from court about the minutes regarding Dr Nyanzi’s appearance before the university’s Appointments Board on October 23, 2018.
“Makerere University Human Resource director will be questioned about why they didn’t wait for the court’s decision before purporting to ‘sack’ Dr Nyanzi since their decision was made after she had sued Makerere and after the court had set a date for trial,” Mr Isaac Kimaze, one of Dr Nyanzi’s lawyers, said yesterday.
In her petition, Dr Nyanzi wants Makerere University to be held in contempt of orders of its Staff Appeals Tribunal by not paying her outstanding salary arrears as earlier ordered and “A declaration that the respondent (Makerere University) is in contempt of the orders of its Staff Appeals Tribunal: to pay the applicant all her salary, benefits and emoluments due to her by virtue of her employment with the university.”
Ms Nyanzi, who spent the festive season in Luzira Prison on charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication against President Museveni, also wants court to reinstate her in office as a Research Fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research.
In October, Makerere University Staff Appeals Tribunal lifted Dr Nyanzi’s suspension and ordered that she be paid all her pending salary arrears.
The tribunal held that the indefinite suspension to Dr Nyanzi was illegal and contravened Sections 63(2) of the Employment Act 2006.
Section 63(2) demands that any suspension under sub-section (1) shall not exceed four weeks or the duration of the inquiry.
Dr Nyanzi was indefinitely suspended last year for allegedly insulting the First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the Education minister. Dr Nyanzi contends that despite the orders of the Staff Appeals Tribunal, the said orders have been ignored by the university administration.
In its defence, Makerere University has argued that while Dr Nyanzi was on suspension, her contract expired and the same has never been renewed, varied or extended and that there has never been any process to change her employment terms.
“The applicant’s contract had ended on May 30, 2016 and as such the Appointments Board sought their guidance on the issue of their jurisdiction to conduct the disciplinary proceedings or the applicant’s reinstatement and the legal ground for payment of emoluments beyond the expiry of her contract,” reads in part Makerere’s defence.