State agencies grapple with awards on unfair dismissals

Thursday February 13 2020

court

Government agencies are struggling to fire incompetent staff due to fear of being dragged to court. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

KELLY RWAMAPERA
By KELLY RWAMAPERA
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Smarting numerous defeats in court over unfair dismissal of public servant, the Rwanda has moved draft a ministerial order to cushion state agencies from legal battles in court.

This ministerial order outline cases of gross misconduct, which, together with the new labour law will be the basis of sackings.

According to State Minister for Constitutional Affairs Evode Uwizeyimana, public servant enjoy too much previdges over institutions, leaving exposing the government prone to legal battles.

“We want to ensure that both government and individual public servants are equal before the law, not favouring individuals over government as is currently in the laws,” Mr Uwizeyimana told parliamentarians last week.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs had invited justice ministry to expound on a report by Public Service Commission which showed that public institutions lose much to public servants who sue them.

According to the report, the government was required to pay over Rwf520 million while it won Rwf2.8 million in 12 court cases that involved 65 cases of unlawful dismissal.

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Between 2009 and 2012, the government lost 34 per cent of the cases and the loss increased by 25 per cent between 2012 and 2015, improving to 36 per cent between 2015 and 2017 and plunged to 7 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

The leading public institution that recorded the highest number of court cases on unlawful dismissal is the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) with 68 cases, in which they lost 42 of them.

Mr Uwizeyimana stressed that most public servants who are dismissed over gross misconduct but the laws sometimes protects them “Most of those who have taken compensations after defeating government are actually having records of misconduct but the laws made it difficult for them to be dismissed,” he told journalists.

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