18 May 2017

Uganda: Ddumba Pulls Out of Makerere Vice Chancellor Race

Kampala — The Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Dumba Ssentamu, is not seeking reappointment in the new race for the job. Instead, his predecessor and former presidential candidate, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, reapplied for the job, Daily Monitor has learnt.

The Vice Chancellor Search Committee, which was appointed by the University Council, confirmed that four candidates had applied for the job by close of application deadline on Monday.

The committee, chaired by Ms Irene Ovonji-Odida, however, did not disclose the names of the four candidates. The committee claimed disclosure would breed prejudice, especially in case they kick out one or more of the candidates before the shortlisting.

"This is to inform you that the [search] committee has received four applications and at an appropriate time, you will be notified who the applicants are," Ms Ovonji-Odida said.

This paper has, however, established that among the four candidates is Prof Baryamureeba, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe (current deputy vice chancellor for Finance and Administration), Prof Edward Kirumira (Principal of College of Humanities and Social Sciences) and Prof Wasswa Balunywa, the Principal of Makerere University Business School.

A highly placed source admitted to this reporter that the above mentioned candidates had indeed submitted their applications for the VC job.

The VC position was advertised on April 13, ahead of the expiry of Prof Dumba's term on August 31 as stipulated in the University and Other Tertiary Institutions Act.

Under the Act, a vice chancellor at a public university such as Makerere shall run the day-to-day affairs of the institutions and be responsible for its administration, academic and financial matters.

As such, it's a coveted job and often attracts the crème de la crème in academia.

When Daily Monitor contacted Prof Dumba yesterday on why he did not apply for reappointment for another term despite being eligible, said he would speak out at the right time, which he did not mention.

Prof Baryamureeba was Makerere vice chancellor from November 2009 to August 2012, before joining politics to contest as a president in the 2016 elections. We could not get a comment from him as he did not pick our telephone calls by press time.

Efforts to reach Prof Nawangwe for a comment were also futile as he was reported to be out of the country.

Prof Kirumira declined to confirm his candidature on grounds that since the search committee refrained from revealing the names of the applicants to the public, he would respect that decision.

Prof Balunywa also did not pick our calls to confirm or comment on his candidature.

Ms Ovongi-Odida told journalists on Monday that next week, the search committee will begin the evaluation and scoring criteria for the candidates, conduct face-to-face interviews and invite the applicants to make public presentations in June before writing the overall assessment report to Senate for further considerations.

The committee is expected to hand over three names of the qualified candidates to the Senate, which would later forward the names to the University Council by July. The University Council holds the ultimate authority to select one from the three candidates to take up the job.

Qualifications

Academic. Ms Ovonji-Odida, the chairperson of the Search Committee, had earlier told journalists that a qualified applicant should hold a PhD from a recognised academic institution, be more than 40 years old, but aged below 65 at the time of applying. The applicants are also required to have at least five years of teaching experience at the rank of associate professor.

Experience. Eligible candidates should also have at least 10 years working experience at senior management position, four of which must have been served at the minimum level of Dean of School/Faculty.

Others. They should also possess thorough knowledge of structural, legislature and regulatory framework for management of higher education, among other requirements.

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