Cabinet reappoints Bitekyerezo amid court battle

Bitekyerezo acheng ruth NDA Board Chairman Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo (L) with Health Minister Ruth Acheng. Image credit: Observer.ug.

Cabinet sitting yesterday at State House Entebbe resolved to reappoint former Mbarara Municipality MP Medard Bitekyerezo as the chairman board of directors at National Drug Authority (NDA).

Dennis Katungi, the Communications Manager at the Uganda Media Centre told the press on Tuesday that the cabinet approved the reappointment of Dr. Bitekyezo and the board, whose term expires later this month.

Bitekyerezo’s tenure at the NDA, however, is being challenged by one of the senior members of the Authority.

Florence Nakachwa, who has been working as the head of Drug Assessment at NDA recently rushed to the High Court, seeking among others orders to block the extension of Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo’s term as the Authority’s Board Chairman.

Through her lawyers of Kituuma-Magala & Co. Advocates, Nakachwa argues in her plaint — which is yet to be fixed for hearing — that Bitekyerezo and his entire board’s term was supposed to have expired last month on January 27.

Bitekyerezo, however, according to Nakachwa, lied to his boss, the Minister of Health, that his contract ends on February 27, and therefore in effect pushed his tenure by an entire month.

“In his performance report 2017-2019 of November 2019 to the Hon. Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng on behalf of the 6th Authority (Board), he stated that the 6th Authority was appointed on 27th February 2017 for a 3-year term which is ending on 27th February 2020, which is untrue,” Nakachwa said.

She went on to cite Dr. Bitekyerezo’s appointment letter, Ref. No. MH/NDA/159, dated Jan. 27 and duly signed by the (Health) Minister, which she says, clearly states that the NDA board was appointed on Jan. 27, 2017 and not Feb. 27, 2017.

Nakachwa as such asked court to declare that the current NDA board is in office illegally and that all their actions and decisions are illegal.

Meanwhile, the other NDA Board Members that have been approved by the cabinet are Dr. Mwebesa Henry Gatyanga (Director Medical Services), Dr. Rose Ademun Okurut (Commissioner of Veterinary Services), Agaba Raymond (Commissioner of Trade), Grace Akullo (Director Criminal Investigations Department Uganda Police Force).

Others are Brig Dr. K. Musinguzi (Chief of Medical Services, Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs), Neville O. Oteba (Chief of Pharmaceuticals and Health Supplies), Dr. Grace Nambatya Kyeyune (Head of Natural Chemotherapeutics), Dr. Baterana Byarugaba (Director, Mulago Laboratory).

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