New Vision (Kampala)

21 November 2012

Uganda: Ndiege Sacking Averted Disaster - Kyambogo Lawyers

Kyambogo University lawyers have defended the sacking of Prof. Isaiah Ndiege as the vice chancellor saying the Council averted disaster at the institution.

Ndiege was sacked by the University Council in public interest during a meeting on October 31 at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

Steven Mubiru Kalinge and Sarah Kisubi on Wednesday told the High Court in Kampala that staff members had unanimously resolved to strike in the event that Ndiege was reinstated. Ndiege was present together with his lawyer, Sunday Akile. A number of university staff led by Secretary Sam Akorimo, were in attendance.

Court presided by Justice Benjamin Kabiito had convened to hear the University's response to an application filed by Ndiege seeking to temporarily block the sacking, pending the outcome of the main case.

Mubiru Kalinge stated that the Council acted reasonably and fairly.

"Staff are threatening industrial action. The respondent (university) has no control over people threatening industrial action. The only thing the respondent can do is to make decisions to prevent turmoil from happening at the University," he said.

The case arose on November 6 when Ndiege filed an application for judicial review, contending that his dismissal was baseless since a probe report into mismanagement at the institution cleared him.

Judicial review is conducted by the High Court to scrutinise proceedings and decisions taken by subordinate courts and inferior tribunals or Government bodies.

The Kenyan national was appointed on December 4, 2008. He asserts that his appointment was to curb rampant corruption, and incompetence among administrators at the institution.

He asserts that as part of his mandate, he implemented his policy on zero tolerance to corruption by closing the channels through which resources were being siphoned.

But in his submissions, Mubiru Kalinge reiterated that granting Ndiege a temporary injunction would result in an unmitigated disaster. He argued that Ndiege was panicking, saying the University Council had actually not dismissed Ndiege but only made a recommendation that they forwarded to the Appointments Board and the Chancellor.

He said Ndiege's fate is yet to be decided, and that the University acted in public interest. He noted that staff had complained that Ndiege was rude, and that in the event that they went on strike, students would lose resourceful time that would never be adequately compensated.

He also refuted Ndiege's claims of being inconvenienced, saying he would be compensated as stipulated in the Employment Act.

However, Akile said the University was posturing by claiming to act in public interest. He wondered why there was no affidavit from a member of the public to show dissatisfaction with the affairs at the institution.

The ruling is scheduled for delivery on November 26. But hearing of the main case is fixed for December 18.

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