By Andante Okanya
THE High Court in Kampala has been asked to quash the restructuring of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), saying President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to incorporate the army is illegal. On August 21, a one Daniel Byaruhanga claiming to be concerned citizen, filed a civil suit, demanding that President Museveni’s directive be quashed.
Government’s chief legal advisor and representative the Attorney General and NAADS are listed as the defendants. Byaruhanga claims the suit is filed on his behalf and that of the other citizens.
This year on June 9, while officiating at the National Heroes’ Day celebrations in Mityana district, President Museveni vowed to restructure NAADS and sack all its coordinators. He said those sacked would be replaced by a UPDF soldier, to be deployed in each sub-county to monitor government agricultural programmes.
Consequently, cabinet made its approval on July 7 in minute number 186 (CT 2014). Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries minister Bright Rwamirama, directed the ministry permanent secretary and the NAADS executive to implement the cabinet decision But Byaruhanga contends that the process is tainted with illegalities, and not backed by a legal instrument.
“A declaration that the directives of H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and that of the cabinet to incorporate the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces officers into the activities of the second defendant (NAADS) is unlawful and unconstitutional,” the suit reads in part. It was filed through Tumwesigye, Baingana and Company Advocates.
Byaruhanga also wants court to quash Rwamirama’s directive, which created the position of Agricultural Extension Workers. He contends that the position was created without approval of the board and lacks the backing of a statutory instrument.
“A declaration that the creation of the Agricultural Extension Workers which is not provided under the NAADS Act is unlawful,” the suit further states.
Additionally, Byaruhanga wants court to compel the army leadership to withdraw all army officers from executing NAADS activities. He is demanding that court orders all district service commissions to pay salaries and allowances of the NAADS officials, whose job termination was prompted by the restructuring.
Byaruhanga contends that cabinet rushed the approval for restructuring without making adequate research and consultation from stakeholders. He wants to be paid damages, and is demanding that the defendants are condemned to costs of the suit, plus any other reliefs court deems fit.
As of close of the court business for the weekday ending Friday August 22, the court was yet to issue summons informing the defendants of a suit against them and for them to file their defence.