National
Workers MPs ask gov’t to expedite operationalization of industrial courts
Publish Date: Apr 21, 2014
Workers MPs ask gov’t to expedite operationalization of industrial courts
Workers MP Samuel Lyomoki.
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Paul Kiwuuwa          

WORKERS MPs have asked government to quickly operationalize the industrial courts to dispose of the increasing number of labour cases.

The New Vision contacted workers MP Samuel Lyomoki he said “Uganda countrywide has a backlog of over 2,000 labour related cases that need to be disposed of by the industrial courts countrywide. 

In a press briefing at Parliament yesterday (Monday), Workers MP Theopista Ssentongo said President Yoweri Museveni recently appointed the judges for industrial courts and parliament approved them but the court is not operational.

Ssentongo said.” Workers related cases are unique that they need to be handled by the industrial courts if the industrial courts were to be in existence they would work on the backlog of cases.” 

She pointed out that so many poor workers have been exploited due to non-functioning industrial courts.

This follows the death of one Barbara Twikyirize who was allegedly beaten and burnt by her former employers when she demanded Shs150,000 as wages for her three-month labour at their home in Kabagyenda cell, Kikoni ward in Ntungamo municipality.

“Twikirize had been dismissed from work but returned to demand her wage arrears,” According to Ntungamo district police commander Baker Kawonawo.  

Workers MP Arinaitwe Rwakajara said: “As a matter of urgency and a necessity to help the exploited workers government should establish the industrial courts, because the recently appointed industrial court judges are not utilized to carry out their duties.”  

Workers MP Charles Bakkabulindi who is also state minister for sports vowed to follow the allegedly torture until justice prevails. “I condemn the act and we demand for a quick expedition of the process to establish the industrial courts.”  

Twikirize was buried at her home in Omurubaare cell in the same municipality on Thursday.  

The suspects have been arrested, Kawonawo confimed.  

Kawonawo added “Two people accused of torturing Twikirize have been rearrested following the intervention of First Lady, Janet Museveni, who also paid the deceased’s hospital and burial expenses.

Kawonawo said, “When she arrived at the home of her employer, she was reportedly tied down by five people, including her former co-workers, who burnt her with paraffin and molten plastic jerrycans until police rescued her after a tip-off from her friend who had accompanied her.” 

Kawonawo explained “The friend, to Jovia Kyorurete, informed the local council chairperson who alerted police.  The Police rushed Twikirize to Itojo Hospital where she spent a month before being transferred to Mulago hospital after intervention from the First Lady.  

According to Kawonawo Barbara Twikirize died on Wednesday 12th April 2014.  “She was allegedly tortured after demanding her wages in February succumbed to the injuries at Mulago hospital where she had been referred for advanced treatment.”

The parliamentary appointments committee has approved six judges, recently appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to fill up vacancies at the High Court and Industrial Court. The approved six judges now bring the number of judges in service to 60.

The six judges approved include four high court judges and two industrial court judges. The High Court judges are; Patricia Basaza, Jessica Naiga, David Matovu and Margaret Mutonyi.Asaph Ruhinda Ntegye, the Chief Judge of the Industrial court and Lillian Tumusiime were the other judges approved.  

According to the judiciary, the number of judges required to handle the increasing number of cases filed at the High Court needs to be between 130 and 150 judges.

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