Kampala, Uganda — The committee set up to investigate the conduct of the suspended Makerere University Academic Staff Association - MUASA leader, Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi has been given up to two months to deliver its report.
The committee will be headed by Prof. Sarah Kiguli, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine.
Prof. Kiguli will work alongside Prof. Noble Banadda, a senior lecturer in the Department of Agricultural and Bio-systems engineering, and Dr Moses Musinguzi, the Dean School of Built Environment. The committee will also consist of Esther Kabinga from the University's Directorate of Legal Affairs as its legal advisor and Janet Nabukeera, a senior employment officer as a secretariat.
"The Committee is required to submit a report to the undersigned (Vice Chancellor) within a period of two months with clear recommendations," reads a January 24th letter by the Vice Chancellor.
On January 17, 2019, the Vice-Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe suspended Dr Kamunyu for alleged indiscipline and inciting violence among Makerere University staff.
Dr Kamunyu was suspended from university service as a Lecturer in the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
He is accused of allegedly continuing to engage in acts that amount to misconduct, including incitement with intent to cause disobedience and or strikes to undermine the university administration, acts that bring the university and its officials into disrepute, intimidation of university officials, using abusive and or insulting language, insubordination, making false statements, among others despite several warnings.
According to Prof. Nawangwe, Kamunyu's actions contravene the Terms and Conditions for his employment with the University and also violate provisions of the Employment Act, 2006, the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2010, Makerere University Human Resources Manual and other policies governing employment with Makerere University.
The suspension of Dr Kamunyu from Makerere University has received criticism from a section of the public and members of the Makerere University staff who have since laid down their tools demanding that it be lifted since he was acting in their interest.
Dr Kamunyu says that he had been branded an FDC agent and that he had rejected appearing before the investigating committee.
"I have insisted that as law abiding citizens and as intellectuals, we should adore only lawful orders and allow arbitration where there are conflicts. For anyone to claim that I'm refusing to appear before a lawfully constituted committee is to state that I'm lawless. I'm not lawless and undisciplined and I will never be," Dr Kamunyu says.
The staff earlier expressed concern over the independence and fairness of the three-member committee citing conflict of interest especially from the Vice Chancellor who suspended the staff but also set up a committee to investigate.
Prof. John Jean Barya, the Head of Department of Public and Comparative Law at the School of law observe that the suspension of association leaders is "unacceptable as it is an attack on freedom of association and academic freedom."
The law dons advised Nawangwe to withdraw the suspensions of association leaders to enable the parties resolve the grievances.
Isaac Ssemakadde, the lawyer for staff says that the Vice-Chancellor was flouting the law by not following the provided 15 days in which an established committee to investigate is expected to operate.