President Museveni has written to the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasija ordering him to ensure that Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana, who was rejected out rightly by shareholders is appointed back to the UMEME board.
In a letter seen by Nile Post, Museveni claims that Bigirimana’s presence on the board serves in the interest of workers whose fund is invested in shares by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
There was drama during the annual general meeting for power distributor Umeme at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on May 17, when share holders turned down Bigirimana who had been nominated as a board director.
Bigirimana was among five people nominated to the board but trouble came when members were asked to endorse his appointment through the vote. Before the voting, Bigirimana was asked to speak, but the room remained cold and members disinterested.
Following his rejection by share holders, Bigirimana vanished from the premises while Board chairman Patrick Bitature reigned in on the matter when he clarified that despite the share holder’s rejection, Bigirimana had been seconded by the NSSF which is the major shareholder, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
“no no we don’t want,” the members replied in unison.
“Mr chairman you have allowed us the liberty to choose, we choose what we want, therefore, the NSSF people are not restricted to one person, they can choose another,” Kanyomozi, a share holder moved amidst thunderous handclaps.
Bitature conceded the shareholders’ view and said; “On behalf of the company and in the interest of everyone, we shall not appoint Mr Bigirimana but he is free to stand again.”
However, President Museveni now claims that representatives of National Organisation of Trade Unions(NOTU) complained to him that Bigirimana’s rejection was due to ‘unclear reasons”.
“The workers, are, therefore, concerned that UMEME, has intentionally left out their representative on the board and have appealed to me to intervene in protecting their interests,” Museveni’s letter reads in part.
Museveni maintains that since NSSF is major share holder in UMEME, workers interests must be protected by a government representative who in this case should be Bigirimana.
“I am therefore directing you to urgently investigate their complaint and ensure that Mr Pius Bigirimana is appointed to the board of UMEME to safeguard workers’ interests,” Museveni adds.