Save the Children, a top Non-Governmental Organization operating in Uganda disgracefully sacked its employee for being HIV positive.
Jimmy Kato Nyombi is the victim that has undergone stigmatization, harassment and victimization from Save the Children, an organisation that prides itself for promoting children rights.
However, as it stands, the organisation didn’t consider Kato’s children before firing him. Kato, who has sought justice from the organisation in vain for many years, has decided to go to court.
According to documents obtained by this site, Kato, 49, was a senior driver at Save the Children before his untimely sacking, having worked for the organisation for 10 years. He says he started working with the organization in 1995 when it was still called Redd Barn.
Redd Barn became Save the Children International in 2004.
Kato’s contract as driver was renewed on 29th July 2005.
“We are glad to inform you, your contract as Driver is hereby renewed for another four (4) years-renewable with effect from January 1st 2006,” David Wright, the Director Save the Children in Uganda said in a letter to Kato.
However, Kato didn’t live to enjoy his contract. He claims that he was fired on grounds that he was HIV positive.
He reveals that he was examined after falling sick at the organization national staff clinic- Abii Clinic located in Wandegeya and he was found to be HIV positive. This site has also seen documents from The Aids Support Organisation (TASO) confirming Kato as HIV positive.
“Doctors and nurses counseled me and told me to tell the Human Resource Manager Lydia Ntege, who was sitting at the head offices at Kiira road opposite Uganda Museum. I went and talked to her and explained everything and she told me she would discuss my issue with the senior managers to see how to help me,” Kato narrates.
However, he says he was shocked the following day to see a gatekeeper grieving with him for being infected with HIV.
“I started feeling stigmatized because it was only Ntege whom I had confined my medical information and from there I started to becoming weak and sickly,” he says with tears visible in his eyes.
He adds: “I would ask for sick leave and she would grant me the permission but I almost died when she forced me to drive from Kampala to Moroto and come back to Kampala in just 24 hours without facilitation and fuel,” he claims, adding: “She said I was to drive to Karamoja and come back to Kampala in just 24 hours yet earlier on we would drive for the whole week. I was given Shs60,000 for transport contingent and upkeep.”
He says while he was on the way coming back to Kampala, the vehicle ran out of fuel in Jinja and used the remaining money to refuel since he did not go with fuel card.
He explains that on reaching Bweyogerere, the car again ran out of fuel and went to a nearby fuel station where he deposited his phone as security in order to be given fuel to take him up to office in Kampala where he was going to sign for money and go pick his phone.
He drove and parked the vehicle at the head office. However, to his surprise, the following day he went to sign a voucher in the office of the organization transport manager one Simon Nigo, who instead grabbed it and tore it into pieces, saying he wanted to defraud the organization.
“I again asked for sick leave since I had over worked and I was not feeling well and doctors had recommended me to go for rest,” he says, adding: “That night, my conditions worsened and I was rushed to KCCA health center on Kiira road where I was put on drip. I was subsequently referred to Abii clinic where I spent one week.”
Kato says he his contract was terminated on 30th September 2005 over alleged misuse of the organisation resources including the vehicle.
“They claimed that on 19 September 2005, I was summoned and appeared before the disciplinary committee yet the same date I was in Karamoja where I spent a night on organization duties,” he says
In the termination letter they claimed that he appeared before the committee, noting that forged his signature of attendance.
He notes that he worked diligently with the organization for 10 years without any problem until he became HIV positive.
He notes that he was earning Shs730,000 and was summarily dismissed on grounds of his HIV positive status and was not given his terminal benefits and severance allowances among others.
Kato adds that under terms and conditions, the organization was supposed to meet all his medical expenses from the date of employment up to the end of his employment contract which was not meant.
“From the time I was summarily dismissed, I have suffered and continue suffering psychological torture and trauma as result of dismissal,” he says.
Save the Children’s Side
Efforts to get a comment from Save the Children were futile by the time the story was uploaded. However, in the termination letter obtained by this site, the organisation raises a number of reasons for firing Kato.
These include ‘misuse of organisational resources and failure to follow the laid out procedures on private use of vehicles or contingency funds’, ‘negligence of duty’ and ‘intent to defraud the organisation’.
“It is in light of the above background and an earlier final warning letter issued to you on 4 October 2004, that your contract is terminated with effect from 30th September 2005, on grounds of misuse of organisation resources, negligence of duty and intent to defraud the organisation,” the 30th September 2005 termination from Save the Children reads.
We’ll bring to you the organisation’s concrete side of the story once we get.