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UHRC boss on the spot as commissioner petitions Justice Minister, AG over ‘gun comments’

An internal war is brewing at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) involving the Chairperson Mariam Wangadya and a section of commissioners who petitioned the Justice Minister Hon Robert Mao and the Attorney General over her nature of work.

UHRC Chairperson Mariam Wangadya (Photo/Courtesy)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: A disgruntled commissioner at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has dragged the Chairperson Mariam Fauzat Wangadya to the Justice Minister Hon Robert Mao and the Attorney General over comments the chairperson made “that some commissioners carry guns into the meeting to threaten her”.

Information obtained by this publication indicated that the commissioner, along with a few others fault Wangadya for reportedly running the Commission using dictatorial tendencies and intentionally disregarding or sidelining those who refuse to act according to her whims.

This publication has independently verified that the commissioner who spoke openly about the discontentment with Wangadya’s Modus Operandi is Hon Jacklet Atuhaire Rwabukurukuru, the former Sheema District Woman Member of Parliament in Sheema district.

A source privy to the brewing war at UHRC who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter revealed that the rift between Wangadya and Jacklet has now escalated to adverse levels, to the extent that the two no longer see eye to eye.

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“Those two do not see each other face to face, Hon Jacklet faults Ms Wangadya for not only frustrating her duties as a Commissioner at UHRC but also tarnishing her name by making defamatory statements against her in public,” said the source.

The brewing war has seen Hon Jacklet run to the Minister for Justice, Hon. Norbert Mao and Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, beseeching them to intervene in the matter, short of which she will be left with no choice but to drag Wangadya to courts of law.

Hon Jacklet Atuhaire Rwabukuku (photo/File)

In her petition dated July 11, 2023, a copy of which DailyExpress has seen, Jacklet through her lawyers of M/S Otto Edward Mackmot & Company Advocates, accuses Wangadya of among other things, refusing or neglecting to pay rent for her offices, yet she pays rent for office facilities occupied by other Commissioners, something that has never her with no place to execute her duties from.

“Our client hereby informs you that her office has been rendered redundant, without any assignment in the past four months, as their offices were locked for nonpayment of rent, and in that respect, she has been working from home, and yet other Commissioners have been invited on several engagements as the job description dictates,” the petition reads in part.

The petition adds that; “For instance, our client was intentionally left out of the following activities: 17th-19th day of April 2023 tribunal hearing in Arua Regional Office; 24th-26 day of April 2023 tribunal hearing in Fort Portal Regional Office; 18th day of May 2023, breakfast meeting with members of parliamentary human rights committee, among others.

“Furthermore, on the 20th day of April 2023, Ms Wangadya, the Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission, while presenting the Commissioner’s Report to the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights on the situation of juveniles from Karamoja Sub-Region who recently appeared in the media looking starved and severely malnourished, alleged that our Client (Jacklet) appeared in a meeting with a gun and looking drunk and high on other substances.”

Hon Jacklet’s lawyers contend that their client feels felt offended and aggrieved as her name and reputation have been tarnished in the eyes of the right-thinking members of society.

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Against this background and petition, the lawyers, therefore, want an immediate intervention of the Justice Minister and Attorney General in the prevailing situation before the Client considers seeking legal redress in the matter.

At the time of writing the story, efforts to reach the Commission Chairperson Ms Wangadya for a comment about this matter were futile as she couldn’t be reached through her known office telephone numbers.

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