The High Court in Kampala has temporarily blocked the ejection of Dr Samuel Oledo as president of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA).
At a December 18 extraordinary general assembly, UMA members voted to suspend Dr Oledo from membership of the association for the next four years and also elected the Vice President Dr Edith Nakku Joloba as the new President for the remaining term of office.
However, Dr Oledo had days before his suspension petitioned the High Court in Kampala seeking to block plans of censuring him.
After his censure, he applied for a temporary injunction seeking quash the resolutions of the general assembly meeting.
Justice Musa Ssekaana in his ruling said Thursday that Dr Oledo has been interrupted in his term as a duly elected president UMA and this is a greater inconvenience caused to him and if the temporary injunction is not issued, he may lose an opportunity which may have been filled by another person (third party) since the respondent (UMA) has attempted to have him replaced.
“The balance of convenience favours the applicant as he would suffer greater loss [of leadership position] if the injunction is not granted than the respondent who may not suffer any damage if the injunction is granted. The purported new leadership has not been in office for more than 24 hours and therefore, there is no prejudice suffered by the respondent,” Justice Ssekaana said.
According to the judge, Dr Oledo petition court while he was still holding the position of President of Uganda Medical Association (UMA).
“The respondent or its agents were fully aware of the pending matters in court and were duly served on December 16, 2022. The action of the respondent to change the status quo is untenable and this court cannot be overrun through illegalities and ‘mob’ decisions like what was done on December 18, 2022.
According to the judge, the status quo prior or as at the time the application was filed in court on December 9, 2022, ought to be preserved to avoid prejudice of rights of the applicant (DR Oledo) pending the determination of the main cause.
“This court has wide discretion at this stage to consider any factor which would have a bearing on the issue whether the injunction ought to be granted. It is for the court to determine the weight to be accorded to a particular factor weighed in balance and where they appear to be balanced the court ought to consider and strive to preserve the status quo. Other factors that may be taken into account in determining the balance of convenience include the importance in upholding the law of the land or rule of law and the duty placed on the authority to enforce the law in public interest,” Justice Ssekaana said before arguing that the actions of the respondent (UMA) must be rooted in the law and any divergence and abuse of power must be restrained as the court investigates the circumstances surrounding the decision made by the respondent which has ‘colourings’ of a public body.
“In the result for the reasons stated herein above this application succeeds: A temporary injunction issues restraining the respondent, her agents or employees and any other persons claiming under her from implementation of resolutions dated 6th December, 2022 and this court stays whatever was done on December 18, 2022 until the main cause is disposed of. The costs shall be in the cause,” Justice Ssekaana order.
Dr Oledo is accused of using the association for his personal political gains to express his support for Mr Museveni who has been in power since 1986 and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party which UMA members said compromises the association’s values.
However, Dr Oledo insists that Mr Museveni, 78, being the NRM national chairman which he (Dr Oledo) subscribes to and the fountain of honour, deserves respect for what he has done for the country since he came to power in 1986.
On December 20, Dr Oledo led a team of some doctors to a meeting with President Museveni at State House Entebbe where they reportedly discussed the welfare of healthcare workers.
Dr Oledo remains steadfast in his belief that until declared otherwise by the High Court, he is still the president of UMA.