UWA, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is now technically without a board of directors and probably top management after court ruled that they were appointed irregularly.
Justice Yorokamu Bamwine declared recently that some of the current members of the board were unqualified, including its Chairman, Dr Boysier Oumar Muballe. He ordered for the dissolution of the board and the minister responsible to appoint a new one in accordance with the law.
One of the last bold acts of the now disbanded board was to fire the Executive Director, Moses Mapesa and two other senior staff, Andrew Koluo and Apophia Atukunda early this year.
The board then appointed a new executive director, whose authority now hangs in balance in light of the court decision. Meanwhile, the suspended officials challenged their dismissal in court, which has now ruled in their favor.
The petitioners successfully argued that the new board was needlessly interfering in the running of the public enterprise. It appears that the minister responsible and his handpicked board were so eager to remove the managers that private auditors were assigned to investigate the body and a report was promptly issued, raising allegations of impropriety.
In an editorial in August, we cautioned that while it was in order for those in charge to make changes where they deem fit, there was no justification to ignore the law or skip procedure, as was obviously the case in respect of suspected Mr Mapesa.
If indeed he and his colleagues are guilty of the allegations made against them, the law should take its course.
Wildlife is a very sensitive sector, which is at the centre of Uganda’s tourism boom and so it shouldn’t be left in a vacuum for long.
A lot can go wrong, including poaching, misappropriation of revenue and encroachment. Those responsible should, therefore, fill this vacuum as soon as possible.