18 June 2019

Uganda: Why Makerere's Prof Bazeyo Was Thrown Out of University Office

High Court has nullified the appointment of Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Prof William Bazeyo, on account that he was recruited irregularly.

The court on Friday ordered Prof Bazeyo out of office and observed that the university's Search Committee violated its mandate as set out in the terms of reference when they forwarded only his name to the University Senate for onward submission to the University Council.

Defied terms

Trial judge Musa Ssekaana said the university's Search Committee chose Prof Bazeyo as the suitable candidate and recommended him for the appointment without any chance of the University Senate to exercise its discretion to choose, contrary to the terms of reference.

Court heard that the Search Committee was supposed to recommend five suitable candidates to the Senate but instead took it upon themselves to choose the best and also purported to appoint the final candidate as Prof Bazeyo, which was not its mandate.

Records indicate that the University Senate relied on and adopted the recommendations of the Search Committee thereby denying other applicants, among them Prof Anthony Mugisha, a chance to get the job.

Justice Ssekaana ruled that the University Senate as the agency responsible for such recruitment must not be reduced to rubber-stamping a decision which it ought to have taken itself.

"... the Search Committee took a decision and forwarded only one name to the University Senate for the sole purpose of endorsement and yet the University Senate is mandated under the law to take a decision without fettering their discretion in exercise of power conferred under the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act," the judge observed.

He declared the decision of the University Council in appointing Prof Bazeyo null and void.

The judge said the law vested the University Senate with power to recommend a person with approval of the University Council for appointment by the Chancellor.

"The right to choose had to be made by the University Senate and the Search Committee choosing one or a 'sole' candidate and taking the power of the University Senate through transmission of the only forwarded name and not exercising any power conferred by the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act was an abuse of discretion and wrongful exercise of power," Justice Ssekaana ruled.

Prof Mugisha, the-in-charge of Livestock Development and Socio-economics in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Bio-security, sued Makerere University Council challenging the process of appointment of Prof Bazeyo as Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.

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