Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira, the UCDA Managing Director
During their board meeting sometime back, the directors of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) voted to renew the contract of Director Quality Assurance, Edmund Kyerere Kananura because his performance was very good.
The same meeting chaired by board chairman Perez Bukumunhe blocked contract renewal for Andrew Lajul Kilama, the Board Secretary and Director Corporate Services.
This happened because Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira, the UCDA Managing Director had recommended termination for Kilama and renewal for Kyerere Kananura for another five years.
UCDA board minutes signed by John Nuwagaba show that Kilama’s contract couldn’t be renewed because a private HR consultant called Coach Peter Kimbowa had assessed his performance and advised it was not good.
In the end, Kilama was chased from UCDA, forcing him to go to court to challenge his removal from the job.
His case number was 270 of 2019 and at the end of it all, Judge Moses Sekana decided the case in favor of Kilama and directed UCDA to give him back his job and pay him costs for the time he lost.
As the UCDA board prepares to reinstate Kilama, information has emerged to show that his removal is just a tip of the iceberg because there is a lot of intrigue at the coffee Authority which is very bad news for millions of coffee farmers and exporters in Uganda.
The MD Iyamulemye is accused of fighting Kilama for all these years because they both competed for the MD job which went to Iyamulemye.
In one of his petitions to the board, Kilama pointed out that Iyamulemye has always been fighting him and that he even caused UCDA’s organizational job structure to be changed for his post to change from Director Finance and Administration to something less powerful.
He claims that the MD made him Director Corporate Services and the power to control procurement was taken away from him.
He adds that when time came for staff performance appraisal forms to be filled to prepare for new contracts, the MD subjected him to a different appraisal method different from other employees and the aim was to fail him.
He says Iyamulemye doesn’t want him in the organization because he fears he will once again compete for the MD post like he did last time.
Kilama had many times presented his performance appraisal forms for assessment but the MD would be sitting on them to make sure time runs out and he fails to save his job of Board Secretary and Director Corporate Affairs. Iyamulemye later accused Kilama of refusing to sign his part on the performance appraisal forms yet in actual sense it’s the MD who kept absenting himself, saying he is very busy with other office work.
As such there are lots of political fights inside UCDA because staff are split into two camps; one supporting Iyamulemye and another for Kilama, who court says must get back his job because there was wrongful dismissal.
But the fight hasn’t been very easy for Kilama because Iyamulemye is “very connected in powerful offices”.
Some days ago, media reports showed that many UCDA bosses had left the company because they don’t like to work with Iyamulemye who is a very tough boss.
The senior staff members who have left UCDA because of the bad working environment include among others Administration Manager, Michael Mugenyi, Strategy & Business development director- Norman Mutekanga, Bradford Ochieng who is these days is the deputy ED for Uganda Tourism Board.
Samson Omwa was director business strategy but he also quit when things became too hot. Samson Akankiza who is now the Deputy MD for Diary Development Authority was also working with UCDA as project manager but he left because he realized Iyamulemye wasn’t comfortable with him in the company.
In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, coffee remains Uganda’s leading foreign exchange, having overtaken tourism that has been hit badly by the deadly pandemic.
According to June 2020 Coffee export figures, Uganda’s coffee export performance in FY 2019/20 set an all-time new record of 5.06 million 60kg bags, an increase of 84% over the first decade of Vision 2040.Export earnings also reached an all- time new level of US$ 494 million.
However, these fights at UCDA may affect Uganda’s target of producing 20m-60kg bags by 2025.
We’ll keep you posted about the state of affairs at UCDA