ITF acts over police interference in union elections in Uganda

The (ITF) International Transport Workers’ Federation is disturbed by reports of police interference in union elections in Uganda.

It is understood officers occupied the offices of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU) in the city of Kampala this morning (Friday 22 May). This followed attempts by the union to elect officials to represent newly recruited members, a process which was disrupted by police.

On an audio recording from the scene at the union offices this morning you can hear general secretary of the ATGWU Azizi Kiirya as he protests against the presence of a police officer in his office: "How can police seal off my office! I'm the general secretary… These are workers, they are [the police] also workers, and they are intimidating workers...

“If you think you are helping the government, you are destroying the government, and I’m going to tell His Excellency the president. Police are destroying the government.” Access the full recording via the link at the bottom of this release.

The ATGWU has brought some 30,000 precarious workers into the union over the past few months, mainly Kampala City or urban taxi and mini-van drivers.

The ITF is making an urgent intervention calling on the President of Uganda to ensure that the union is able to go about its democratic activities unfettered in the future.

ITF Africa regional secretary Joe Katende said: “We’re at a loss as to what’s going on here. There has always been a positive relationship between the government in Uganda and the ATGWU, in fact President Museveni is even an honorary member. Now we see aggressive intervention in union business which amounts to a violation of trade union and human rights. 

“We can only assume the events unfolding have something to do with the union’s work around organising precarious workers but we need answers and we need assurances that this kind of thing won’t happen again.”


More information

Allan Munobwa, ITF Africa regional office: +254733383918

Access the audio clip of police occupation at ATGWU union offices.

The ATGWU is a mentor union in the ITF precarious workers programme.

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Stephenson S. Kisingu

1323 Days Ago
Who has bewitched East African countries police department. From kenya now in Uganda, we are hearing the same stories.. police doing what is against the law is unacceptable. I would therefore call upon our police force as their brother and request them to honour oath that they shall protect the constitutions of their respective countries. In each of these countries, theire is an element of freedom to join union of choice. President Museveni and President Kenyatta, please, order your boys to uphold the constitution NOW! we are fed up!!!
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Salhatou Mohamed Mansour

1337 Days Ago
Ne cedez pas à l intimidation de la police.La Solidarité syndicale est la meilleure arme pour rétablir le droit.C'est scandaleux de voir que la police intervienne dans les affaires d un syndicat.
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Salhatou Mohamed Mansour

1337 Days Ago
Continuez la lutte et ne cedez pas l intimidation de la police .La Solidarité syndicale est l une des meilleures armes pour rétablir le droit .
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Joshua S. Wilson

1337 Days Ago
As a young transport worker I, know in my country (Liberia) one of the duties of any Police Man is to serve life and property. Police in Uganda this is what we are called to be workers! /unionize! Please allow workers to exercise their democratic right by electing their own leaders.
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