Senior state attorney accuses Deputy Solicitor General of sexual harassment

Monday May 13, 2019

 

A female senior attorney has accused the Deputy Solicitor General, Mr Christopher Gashirabake, of sexually harassing her for the last one decade.


In a March 6 dossier that Ms Samantha Mwesigye, a Senior State Attorney in the Attorney General’s chambers, has written to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda for action, she apologises for jumping protocol claiming that her bosses have not helped her.

“Prior to contacting you, all attempts at following protocol have not yielded any results. The background to my complaint is as follows; I met Mr Gashirabake when he supervised me as a clerkship student in 2005. This is when the sexual harassment started,” Ms Mwesigye states.

“At the time, it involved snide remarks and jokes of sexual nature. I then joined the ministry as an employee in 2007 and he became my immediate supervisor. It was then that he started a full blown assault on me offering to take me to lunch, asking to take me on long weekends away and occasionally asking to take me to a lodge for instant gratification,” she adds.

The law defines sexual harassment as unwelcome verbal, visual, non-verbal or physical.

Ms Mwesigye states that she never responded to Mr Gashirabake’s requests.

“It was only years later around 2009 that he made it a point to let me know I was a grown up woman and must be knowing what he has been up to all these years. I then told him indeed I was a grown up and I did understand what he wanted from me but I wasn’t willing to have a relationship of sexual nature because we worked together,” Ms Mwesigye says.


She further states that Mr Gashirabake started treating her with hostility and stopped giving her assignments.

However, when contacted last evening, Mr Gashirabake declined to comment on the claims and advised that the people whom Ms Mwesigye petitioned should instead respond.

“I would kindly advise you to speak to the people she filed the complaint with. I have nothing to say,” he said.

Mr Francis Atoke, the Solicitor General, denied claims that Ms Mwesigye was not helped after she reported the sexual harassment allegations to them.

“I wanted to make a statement but her assertions against us of not helping her are not true. Last month, we instituted a sexual harassment committee to look into these allegations and before we knew it, she had already gone to the media,” Mr Atoke said by telephone last evening.

He added that Ms Mwesigye first complained to him informally as a person not as the Solicitor General.

In her petition to the Prime Minister, Ms Mwesigye wants Dr Rugunda to protect her from sexual discrimination and victimization and also institute a sexual harassment committee to investigate the alleged sexual harassment allegations she raised.


“It is high time government showed that it is committed to protecting women in the workplace. Sexual harassment is endemic and systematic in public service. Outcry has been made in public institutions... and no action has been taken. The time to act is now,” she states.