KIGALI - The Executive Secretary of Travaux d'Interêts Généraux (TIG), Evariste Bizimana, has in a dramatic move, re-instated all 16 employees he had sacked early this year.
TIG is a government agency that oversees community service carried out by convicts who confessed and sought forgiveness for participating in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
The move to re-instate the former employees has surprised many because Bizimana had stuck to his guns, arguing that he had fully consulted the law before firing the employees.
He had earlier said that he would not back down, insisting that employees who complained about unfair dismissal were only disgruntled and they had failed to meet their job requirements.
The dismissed employees petitioned the office of ombudsman, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Police, saying their dismissal was “engineered”.
After their petition, the ministry and the Ombudsman set up separate probe teams to investigate the claims.
After investigation, 16 employees were found to have been fired on unsubstantiated grounds since the TIG management could not point out the grounds on which the employees were dismissed.
The findings by the Ombudsman also revealed that some former female employees of TIG were sexually harassed.
The Ombudsman then directed Bizimana to re-instate the employees immediately. However, the TIG boss moved in the opposite direction and petitioned both the Prime Minister and the office of the President, alluding to the fact that some people were forcing him to bend the rule of law.
But in his letter, dated November, 9, and addressed to the Office of Ombudsman, Bizimana said he was now ready to re-instate the employees with immediate effect.
Last month, Bizimana wrote to the President, revealing what he called a plot by some forces to undermine him. Bizimana, however, could not say who was behind the moves to knock him out.
He says the plot arose out of his continued opposition on circumventing the rule of law.
Bizimana particularly accused the Minister of Internal Affairs over unfair judgment over TIG matter. It is understood that Minister Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana, wrote to Bizimana reprimanding him. But Bizimana says the minister rushed to reprimand him without consulting the law.
A source from the Public Service Commission said yesterday that it had become a habit for employers to fire people in total disregard of the rule of law.
In March this year, findings from a Public Service Commission probe indicated that the 2009 civil service evaluation exercise was flawed and some employees ended up being fired unfairly.
For instance, some employees had scored the required 70% pass mark but the marks were altered downwards without genuine reasons.
In Rubavu District alone, out of the 22 employees who were dropped, 12 were found to have been sacked unfairly.
There was a case where an employee was victimized because he had not attended a function where a government official was being hosted by the district.
On January, 19 the Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara, wrote to Parliament demanding an explanation as to why two employees had been fired yet they scored the required pass mark.
“People who violent the law must be held accountable,” the Public Service Commission source, who requested not to be named, said.