29 January 2019

Uganda: Makerere Staff Defy VC Order to End Strike

Photo: The Observer
Makerere University.

Kampala — Makerere University staff have defied calls from the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, to end their industrial action and return to class.

Addressing a joint staff associations' press conference at the university on Monday, the chairperson of the National Union of Education Institutions (Nuei), Mr Bruce Twesigye, said they had not yet reached an agreement with the university management regarding their demands and, therefore, cannot return to work.

"We cannot return to class when management has nothing to offer us regarding our demands. We appeal to them to hurriedly solve our grievances before we denounce our strike," Mr Twesigye said.

The teaching and non-teaching staff laid down their tools on January 19 following the suspension of their leaders for alleged indiscipline and inciting fellow staff. They are Dr Deus Kamunyu (academic staff), Mr Bennet Magara (administrative staff), and Mr Joseph Kalema (general secretary administrative staff).

The staff, however, said they will call off the strike if the university management lifts the suspension of their colleagues as they dialogue with the university council.

The university has declined to rescind the suspensions but has instead formed a three-member committee to investigate the grounds under which the staff leaders were suspended.

However, the staff have rejected the move, saying the person who made the suspensions cannot be the same to form an investigation committee.

Prof Nawangwe yesterday said some colleges had resumed classes while others had not.

"We are making an audit of where lectures are taking place and those which are not taking place, we shall take appropriate measures," Prof Nawangwe said.

"I continue calling upon everybody to return to work so that the university can return to full normalcy. The process of the dialogue with the striking staff executive is ongoing," he added.

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