Uganda: Makerere University Council to Review Kamunyu Suspension

(file photo).
15 February 2019

The Makerere University Council have announced they will review the suspension of Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the MUASA chairperson and two other association leaders.

Last month, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe suspended Mr Kamunyu, Mr Bennet Magara, the Makerere Administrative Staff Association chairperson and his General Secretary, Mr Joseph Kalema for alleged indiscipline and inciting staff to strike.

The suspensions have since caused an impasse between the university management and staff.

Appearing before MPs on the Committee of Education on Thursday, members of the University Council led by the chairperson, Lorna Magara, said they will determine if the law was followed to suspend the staff.

According to Magara, Nawangwe's decision to suspend the staff will either be maintained or reversed after the review. Ms Magara also appealed to the striking lecturers to return to work.

"The university council will check the processes and procedures that the management engaged to come to the suspensions. If we find out that the management followed the due process, the suspensions will stand, if not the suspensions will be overturned. Our appeal is that the striking staff resume their duties such that the students are not affected," she said.

Although the MPs asked the council to expedite the review process, Ms Magara said she didn't want to flout university procedures by rushing to the decision. She also said they do not want to be seen as being biased.

"Both sides will be listened to so as to fully understand the situation. We cannot be seen to be supporting one or the other. Justice requires both sides to be listened to, and that's what we are going to do," she said.

Prof Nawangwe defended his actions, saying that he wants to restore sanity at the university.

"Taking an example of Nairobi University which was worse than us, for 10 years now they have had no strikes. This is because the new management that came in put in place very strict measures of course with in the law. Don't be deceived that Nawangwe is a dictator, am using the law to do all that am doing, I know my limits," he said.

Lira Woman MP Joy Ongom Atim said the situation at Makerere requires urgent attention. The committee chairperson Mr Jacob Opolot asked the council to address the standoff in at least two weeks' time.

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