By Mulengera Reporters
Bernadette Nalule (who as Secretary to the Commission is the topmost official at Uganda Law Reform Commission) has fired ULRC Principle Legal Officer Annette Koote for causing financial loss of Shs200,000! The record-breaking interdiction happened a few days ago when Koote defied Nalule’s advice and went to attend a training workshop at Hotel Africana prompting the ULRC to spend Shs0.2m paying for the refreshments and food she took there. Nalule was furious Koote opted to go for the conference instead of attending the ULRC Editorial Board meeting at the Commission offices at Workers House. On realizing Koote wasn’t in the editorial meeting, Nalule rang to find out where she was. The answer was a plain “tompoganira nawe kubanga n’omutwe gunuuma.” It means “don’t shout at me I even have headache.” This angered Nalule who has always had a very uneasy relationship with Koote for a while. Nalule, who is acting following the December interdiction of substantive ULRC Secretary Luxas Omara Abong, used her powers to immediately interdict Koote. The reason stated was that her insistence to attend the Africana workshop caused the Commission to incur an extra cost of Shs0.2m for the eats and refreshments she took while there with other workmates. Renowned for being pompous and outspoken, Koote has since vowed to challenge the 6 months interdiction in court under judicial review accusing Nalule of unfair exercise of discretionary powers vested in her. She says there are options like a warning or even shorter suspension period that were available but modestly experienced Nalule overlooked them in favor of the most severe option. She also argues that Nalule interdicted her before conducting any disciplinary hearing. On realizing her mistake, Nalule has retrospectively organized a disciplinary hearing tommorow Monday but Koote might not show up because the process is already being seen as procedurally unfair because Nalule is the complainant, prosecutor and judge at the same time.
The two ladies’ disagreements started in DPP office where they both worked. One of the close relatives of Nalule was suspected of seeing Koote’s husband and the matter even reached former DPP Richard Buteera himself. As part of the admistrative resolution, Koote had to leave DPP having failed to win against her pursuers who got one of the Supreme Court Justices (their mother) to lobby for a favorable resolution. So when they eventually found themselves at ULRC, which Nalule joined about 1 year ago, the old feuds ressurected. In staff meetings, Koote has always been very belligerent towards Nalule who is equally very combative and when they had that Africana bust up recently, those who know the background weren’t surprised. Those who know Nalule from Equal Opportunities Commission where she worked before say she wasn’t the best person for the position of Ag Secretary for ULRC because she doesn’t have adequate management experience. There are fears Koote might win a very expensive court case under Judicial Review proceedings and cost the scandal-stricken Commission a fortune in damages. (For comments, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org)