Hearing of the application in which the National Association of Trade Unions is seeking orders blocking negotiations by the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) with government has flopped after the Attorney General asked for more time to respond to the same.
The matter was now pushed to Wednesday 23rd of November 2017 by presiding court registrar Sarah Langa.
High court deputy registrar Sarah Langa was set to preside over a hearing of an interim application seeking to bar the Uganda Medical Association, it’s President, Dr. Ekwaro Obuku and workers’ MP Dr. Sam Lyomoki from holding negotiations with government regarding the socio- economic interests of health workers.
However, the hearing didn’t kick off after the representative form the Attorney General’s office who is the first respondent said they were served late and needed more time to reply to the application.
David Kabanda a health rights lawyer from CEHUD who are offering legal aid to the medical association says; ‘They didn’t serve the attorney general appropriately so the attorney general asked for more time to put in their response. Court has agreed giving them up to Wednesday when they will hear the application.”
According to the plaintiffs’ form, the NATU and the Uganda medical Union, the Uganda Medical Association has no authority or recognised structures to ably represent medical workers’ interests and therefore Government should immediately stop any planned meetings with its members.
These say that UMA’s Dr. Ekwaro Obuku and Dr. Sam Lyomoki negotiations are a mere misrepresentation and uncalled for and will instead jeopardise the already on-going negotiations between government and authorised institutions.
“They want the negotiations to be halted because NOTU thinks that UMA should not be negotiating with government, so they think its their preserve alone which is not true,” Mr kabanda adds.
Amidst all the court contradictions that many think divisive of the medical workers, Dr. Obuku says the membership of doctors in union is nonexistent.
“Most doctors left the union, the union collapsed so when you talk of one I don’t even know what you’re talking about, it doesn’t exist so you can’t compare the union to the association because even when the unions organised a strike the doctors didn’t respond.”
The union also seeks orders to gagging Drs; Obuku and Lyomoki from further making pronouncements regarding the on-going medical workers’ strike until court finally determines the main case in which the duo is accused of usurping the medical Union powers to call for what it terms as an illegal strike.
However, Obuku says that there is need for government to address their grievances urgently.
“I call up to government to take this matter seriously, respond to the doctors call and create quick solutions because the association is ready to call off strike if members are satisfied with governments offer.”
He further emphasises that even with government’s deployment of UPDF doctors reports are indicative of a gap within the medical expertise of the soldiers too.
“The credible report we have from consultants in Kawempe indicates that the health problem is much bigger because even the updf is merely sending juniors who are also very minimal,” he said.
The association adds that doctors are maintaining they will only return to work when they agree on a satisfactory position with the state. He says many of them are still going to hospitals to no medicine to use such as anti-retro viral treatment.