The High Court in Kampala has dismissed with costs an application in which the former KCCA Human Resource Officer Paul Kasulu was challenging the recruitment process of employees.
The Civil Division Judge Esta Nambayo dismissed the application against KCCA and the Attorney General on grounds of lack of merit.
The decision arises from an application filed in 2019 by Kasulu through his lawyers led by Isaac Ssemakadde.
Kasulu sought to challenge the legality of the process that was to be taken by KCCA to recruit more than 200 employees in the advert dated June 6, 2019, following a directive from the Public Service Commission Chairperson Justice Ralph Ochan on April 18, 2019, directing them to advertise and fill all vacant positions.
According to the advert, only permanent employees of KCCA were eligible to apply for positions that were on a promotional basis and Kasulu was amongst the temporary employees on Local contracts that were barred by the same advert and his job was being advertised.
Kasulu who had spent 4 years at KCCA petitioned the High Court seeking for a declaration that stopping the temporary employees from applying for their jobs is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Court heard that KCCA has 693 temporary employees and 422 permanent staff and that some of the permanent staff were temporary employees but were handpicked and promoted without any known procedure.
He further argued that whereas it is ordinarily lawful for the Public Service Commission to take over payment and control of all employees in KCCA, the approach being used is illegal, unconstitutional, and contravenes logic and rationality.
However, during the hearing lawyer Anthony Wabwire and Senior State Attorney, Hillary Nathan Ebila represented KCCA and the government respectively and asked the court to dismiss the application.
These argued that Kasulu was on Local contract and it expired on the 31st October 2019 and such, he was never legally appointed as an employee of KCCA by the Public Service Commission in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the KCCA Act, and the Public Service Standing Orders.
They added that without being appointed by the Public Service Commission, Kasulu cannot file the application he took to the court against KCCA and the government because he legally didn’t have a right to do so.
However, in her decision delivered to parties via email, Judge Nambayo has agreed with KCCA and government lawyers and equally dismissed Kasulu’s petition.
The Judge reasoned that from the evidence on record, the Public Service Commission advert was an internal promotional job advert and that being the case, it meant that it was intended for already recruited employees and the intention was to have them moved up the promotional ladder.
“It is clear from the advert that only KCCA staff appointed by the PSC (Public Service Commission) should apply. By the time of the advert, the Applicant was not recruited by the Public Service Commission, which is the appointing authority. This means that the Applicant was not eligible to apply for the posts which were on a promotional basis and as such, he would have no sufficient legal standing to file this application,” reads Nambayo’s judgment.
According to Nambayo, the best that Kasulu could do is to wait for the external advert intended for the general public for recruitment to KCCA.
“Permitting the Applicant and the other KCCA staff who are on the local KCCA contract and not appointed into the Public Service to do promotional interviews would contravene paragraph (A-b) 1 of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders which provides that appointment into the Public Service shall follow the laid down procedures”, added Nambayo.
Ssemakadde says that the judge has endorsed ring-fencing of public service jobs for insiders saying that the decision protects insiders from competition from outsiders which is a bad policy.
According to Ssemakadde, public jobs are now going to be taken as a buffet for insiders who should eat to their fill before competition is endorsed adding that it’s not a policy that was endorsed by Parliament.
The decision now gives KCCA to go ahead and continue with its recruitment process that had earlier been halted pending the determination of Kasulu’s case.