By Philip Wasswa
The recruitment of Chris Obore as Director of Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament was done illegally, according to a March 5th, 2019 termination letter to Obore by the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige.
According to the letter, this is part of the findings of the systematic investigations by the Inspectorate of Government-IG into the recruitment and appointment of Director of Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament.
“The report concludes among others that the recruitment of the Director, Communication and Public Affairs was founded on an illegality as it was in contravention of the Parliamentary Service (Staff) Regulations, 2001”, the letter reads in part.
Adding that,” In view of that finding by the IGG and the same having been brought to our attention, it follows that your employment as Director CPA in the Parliamentary Commission is based on an illegality and out to be reviewed. In the circumstances, it is apparent that your services will have to be terminated accordingly on terms to be agreed upon.”
She directed Obore to pay attention to the investigations by the Inspectorate of Government and proposed action taken as a consequence, such that he can give feedback within fourteen days. The fourteen days elapsed on March 19th, 2019.
On March 22nd 2019, Obore ran to the Civil Division of High Court seeking an injunction restraining the Parliamentary Commission from implementing the Clerk’s decision to terminate his employment until the matter is determined.
Through his lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates, Obore says there is an eminent threat by parliament implementing the disputed decision yet his matter has a high chance of success, should court fail to grant him the reliefs he is seeking.
The application is backed by Obore’s affidavit, in which he explains that he was formerly employed in the Capacity of Director CPA in the Parliamentary service on August 19th, 2015. He also attaches a letter confirming his appointment to that position as part of the evidence he intends to use to back his petition.
Obore explains that in May, 2015 he received a letter informing him that the Parliamentary Service Commission had expressed interest in filling the position of Director CPA.
According to Obore, he was informed through the said letter that he had been identified as one of the potential candidates being considered by the Commission and that he would be invited for ‘interaction’ over the same.
He explains that in June 2015 he expressed interest in filling up the said position and subsequently appeared before the Commission for an interview.
“That subsequently, I received a letter dated August, 19th, 2015 from the office of the clerk to parliament informing me that the commission under minute number PC (Parliamentary Commission) 93/15(1) directed that I be offered appointment on probation as Director CPA in the Parliamentary Service”, the affidavit reads partly.
According to Obore, he accepted the appointment on August 21, 2015 and was successfully confirmed. He argues that he was never accorded a right to fair hearing to defend himself before the Parliamentary Service Commission or any other relevant body prior to the decision to terminate his services.
Obore explains that he has been advised by his lawyers that the Clerk made the decision in excess of her powers and that the decision is illegal and irregular.
‘That I will suffer from irreparable damages unless the respondent and its agents or servants are restrained from implementing the impugned directive or decision”, Obore’s affidavit reads.
He now wants court in the interest of justice and fairness’s to grant his prayers. Court is yet to hear the application. According to media reports, the IGG started investigating Obore’s recruitment on a tip-off from a whistleblower, saying he didn’t qualify for the job.
In the advertisement notice, the applicant should have had a minimum of ten years in public service, Honors Degree in Mass Communication, Communication Studies, Journalism or Arts with Communication and Public Relations and Master’s Degree.
By the time of his employment Obore only had a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU). He only graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Governance in May 2018 long after the IGG’s investigations had commenced.