The High Court in Kampala has ordered Makerere University to pay Dr.Stella Nyanzi shs120 million for refusal to reinstate her as a research fellow.
In 2017, Nyanzi was suspended by the Makerere University Vice-Chancellor following orders of board chairman Bruce Balaba Kabaasa for attacking the Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni.
The Staff Tribunal later ordered the University to reinstate her as a research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research but refused which prompted her to drag the university to court.
On Thursday, Justice Lydia Mugambe ruled that it was wrong for the university to refuse to reinstate her.
“It can easily be inferred that after failing to get their desired end from the Tribunal process, the Respondent officers resorted to finding ways of circumventing it. In this case, the respondent officials appear to have acted in defiance of the Tribunal decision. This was irregular, irrational, and unreasonable,” the judge ruled.
The judge explained that the purpose of an appeal tribunal in an institution like Makerere is to give a forum to staff members to challenge the decision of their employers before an impartial body within the institutional structure.
She said that the appeals tribunal is also useful in protecting the employer and that such right of appeal is a cardinal tenet for the principles of fairness and justice.
“It is, therefore, wrong for the Respondent which set up the appeals Tribunal for this purpose to be the one that disregards or circumvents the Tribunal’s decisions. The Respondent has an overarching duty to implement the decisions of its Staff Appeals Tribunal. It is not within its powers to cherry-pick which ones it implements and which ones it circumvents.”
“I am satisfied that the Respondent’s continued contemptuous disregard of the Tribunal’s decision has caused the Applicant embarrassment, inconvenience, and psychological torture for which she is entitled to general damages.”
The court ruled that Makerere University was supposed to comply with the statutory duty of implementing the decision of the tribunal to the later.
The court, therefore, directed the university to pay shs120 million to Dr.Stella Nyanzi in general damages and a 10% interest per year from the date of ruling until payment in full.