Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Judiciary driver Stanley Kisambira who has come to public attention because of his viral audios threatening to commit murder suicide and kill his principal and bodyguard in an accident, has responded to the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana who gave him five days to defend himself over his claims.
In his defense written by his lawyers of Centre for Legal Aid which is owned by Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, Kisambira who doesn’t regret his statements in the audio recordings has asked the Judiciary PS Dr Pius Bigirimana to cease from further absurdity.
In the audio clips which have since gone viral on social media platforms, Kisambira a driver of Mbale High Court Judge Godfrey Namundi can be heard complaining about salary disparities in the Judiciary for drivers and expressing his dissatisfaction with earning 200,000 shillings since joining the justice system in 2008.
In the same clip, Kisambira is heard saying he is very annoyed, disgusted and can even ram into a stationary vehicle and kill a principal, Bodygaurd and himself, three people at once which is more painful compared to a bodyguard who only kills one principal.
Following his statements, the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana wrote to the Judiciary driver Stanley Kisambira on May 16th 2023 accusing him of misconduct.
Bigirimana said Kisambira would have used the right means as provided for under the public Service Standing orders as a public servant, other than running to the social media to address his grievances.
“Whereas you did the right thing to express your dissatisfaction, the mode of communication used contravenes Section p to b of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2021, Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Uganda Public Service and the Circular Notice Number 1 /2021/2022 which was issued on July 1st 2021 and your action brought the judiciary service into disrepute,” said Bigirimana.
He adds: “Inciting violence and threatening to intentionally cause an accident is unprofessional, criminal and punishable in the strongest terms . In addition, uttering false information that you are only paid 200,000 shillings contravenes Section F-r of the Public Service Standing orders.”
As such, Bigirimana asked Kisambira in the letter to explain his act of gross misconduct within five days from receipt of this letter. Failure to do this, Bigirimana threatened to subject Kisambira to disciplinary measures including dismissal from the Judiciary.
But in response to him, Kisambira says that it was premature for Bigirimana who is also the Judiciary’s Accounting Officer to convict him of gross misconduct.
“Further to yours HC/P 10701 dated 16 May 2023, prematurely convicting our client of ross misconduct” and threatening to subject him to “further disciplinary measures including dismissal from the Judiciary Service,” we are instructed to reply as follows,” reads the one paged letter response.
The letter adds: “With great respect, your indecorously worded missive was not only premature and misconceived, but has also brought the Judiciary Service into disrepute.”
According to Kisambira’s lawyers , their client accepts no liability whatsoever for the contents or circulation of the audio clip at issue.
“A private communication, it contains protected political opinion and does not reasonably imply what you allege (incitement to violence, threatening accidents, uttering false information, etc)…. as you rightly stated, our client did the right thing to express his dissatisfaction,” reads the letter.
According to the Centre for Legal Aid, Bigirimana’s reference to Section P – b of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2021 which talks about the Procedure for Conducting Government, is plainly disingenuous and hereby “denounced, with contempt.”
“You stretched the interpretation of that section by falsely implying that the alleged audio clip was an “official correspondence…which came into the possession of our client in the course of his official duties…Please cease and desist from further absurdity,” advises the letter.
The lawyers further indicate that the Judiciary driver, Stanley Kisambira enjoys what they have described as absolute immunity under the law to freely express his dissatisfaction in a peaceful manner, without fear of retaliation or victimization by his employer or the State.
“Take further notice that pursuant to Sections 6(1) and 75(g) of the Employment Act 2006, you are barred from targeting an employees Political opinion as the reason for dismissal or imposition of a disciplinary penalty”, adds the response.
To support their response, the lawyers have quoted several laws that they say Bigirimana as Accounting Officer of the Judiciary should have looked upon before writing to Kisambira.
They say the Public Service Regulations on Code of Conduct further bars him from implementing any disciplinary procedure before completion of proper investigations.
Accordingly, they have asked Bigirimana to terminate what they have described as travesty of justice, and immediately provide Kisambira a decent package of appropriate interventions to address his dissatisfaction.
Following the audios by Kisambira, he was arrested and detained at Central Police Station in Kampala for two days but he was later released on police bond.
Sources in Police said that he had to be released because it was not right in their view to take him to court simply because he had talked about his grievances and that the best solution is for judiciary to review his salary.
On social media platforms, Kisambira has been hailed as brave for exposing the low salaries of judiciary rank-and-file members. A fundraising campaign has been initiated to support Kisambira in obtaining legal representation and welfare.
The campaign encourages donations, emphasizing Kisambira’s role as a whistleblower who spoke out about the exploitation of judiciary. The flyer states, “Kisambira is ready to be punished or sacked but won’t be silenced.”