In a letter to the Registrar of the Constitutional Court, the UNATU General Secretary Filbert Bates Baguma says he was listed as one of the witnesses without his consent.
Filbert Baguma, UNATU Secretary General
National Teachers Union-UNATU has distanced itself from a petition challenging
salary disparities among science and art teachers.
Last week, lawyer Robert Rutaro petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking a
declaration that the government’s decision to increase only the salaries of
science teachers excluding the art teachers is illegal, unreasonable,
unconstitutional, and a violation of various conventions of the International
Rutaro argued that the decision goes against the collective bargain agreement
that was signed by the government and unions of public servants in 2018 where
all the parties agreed upon acceptable salary enhancement structures.
He filed the case at the time when the teachers had gone on strike protesting
the government’s decision to raise science teachers’ salaries by over 300
percent, from 1.1 million to four million shillings, excluding arts teachers.
But in a letter to the Registrar of the Constitutional Court, the UNATU General
Secretary Filbert Bates Baguma says he was listed as one of the witnesses without
"This serves to inform the court that, the said petitioner did not get my
consent before filing the subject petition and therefore, Uganda National
Teachers Union -UNATU dissociates itself from the said petition", reads
But Rutaro says he contacted Baguma as the UNATU General secretary seeking correspondence
between the union and government since they were in talks to enable him to support
his case as evidence.
George Musisi and Ivan Bwowe, both lawyers note that a lawyer doesn't need to seek
consent from someone to list them as a witness to support a court case.
Musisi noted that consent is needed only when they want to list them as parties
filing the case but not as witnesses. He said under the Evidence Act, the Court
can compel anybody who has information of evidential value to appear in court
as a witness.
Bwowe believes that seeking consent should only be done as a matter of courtesy
and on the moral ground but it is not a necessity.
“It is a prudent
practice that state witnesses that are ready to be a witness. But it is not
fatal that a person listed as a witness does not want to be a witness. It
would be professional to seek their consent Courts can compel people to be
witnesses according to the evidence act”.
On Monday this week, teachers resolved to call off the strike after a
meeting with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who promised to address their