By our reporter

Losing a job is never a fun event in anyone’s life. However, 35 people who have been used to the good life at the top government marketing agency, the Uganda Tourism Board, are in tears as reality descends in that they will not have their salaries remitted on their accounts in the coming months.

However, the major heart break is because the 35 employees feel the process was not done fairly. They are now determined to fight it to the end.

On Monday morning, tears rolls down adult people’s cheeks as each by each received their letters asking them the leave, and try elsewhere.

For many had failed to pass the internal recruitment exercise apart from five people.

A story is told of a receptionist who tried at least three jobs, including of a cleaner as she fidgeted to at least stay at UTB, but, she did not pass the test for all the three jobs.

It was all tears on Monday as they gave each patting good byes – and assuring themselves that all will be well.

“It is a small world,” one whispered into the other’s ear. They both cried.

Petition IGG

However some employees are not willing to go without putting up the fight. They have decided to take the fight to the Inspectorate of Government complaining that the UTB board abused their powers to lay them off. Another group is have contacted a lawyer who has told us that he will go to court to contest their dismissal as illegal, but after engaging the management of UTB. If the IGG stops the process, it will throw the agency into Catch 22. Either way, the public also awaits hearing about how UTB will be run in the meantime without its core functions manned.

According to the information on our desk, it is not the 35 who are losing their jobs. This website understands that although the chief executive Mr Stephen Asiimwe and his deputy John Ssempebwa are still around to oversee the recruitment exercise, they will also be soon asked to reapply their jobs, and will be scrutinised by the Public Service Commission.

Among the jobs up for grabs are managers in charge of marketing, quality assurance, legal and corporate affairs, finance and planning and, human resource and administration. The smaller jobs are: senior internal auditor, senior public relations officer, senior procurement officer, senior marketing officer, senior accountant, executive assistant to the CEO, legal officer, product development and investment officer, as well as new staff are needed in marketing, planning, classification and registration, research and M&E, accounting, administration, and drivers.

Controversies

There are a number of conflicts in the Uganda Tourism sector. There are opposing views on how the country should position itself to tap into the sector which good prospects.

Last week, one of the most reknown faces in the secotr, Amos Wekesa shot the salvo at UTB, demanding for a new management at the agency. Another advocate for the sector Goeffrey Baluku responded saying the challenges and contradictions bedeviling the sector were historical, and therefore cannot be solved in a day.

One of the highest criticism CEO Stephen Asiimwe keeps getting is that UTB returns unspent billions to the consolidated fund yet the sector keeps lobbying for more funding to make the country more visible. However Asiimwe told this website last week that UTB has one of the highest absorption rates of all government departments, and that the way government of Uganda works, it is easy to go to jail over misuse of the funds.

UTB has not been dragged to the IGG’s office before but this recruitment exercise is likely to leave some bruises around, and possibly, the retrenched workers should have been prepared and given enough time to call it quits.

Some observers say, the exercise should have taken place in stages, instead of throwing out everyone at once, which is throwing the agency into panic.

 

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