A section of Makerere University staff are rooting for the constitution of a Parliament select committee to probe the academic institution.
In a petition to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, suspended Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) Chairperson, Deus Kamunyu, accused Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe of witch-hunt, saying Parliament should come to their rescue.
MP Sam Lyomoki echoed their sentiments on the formation of a Select Committee.
“There was a petition by workers, which was presented to you [Speaker Kadaga]; the Vice Chancellor is persecuting them; his actions are illegal and unconstitutional,” said Lyomoki. “We need a select committee to look into this,”
Kamunyu said his suspension is related to his involvement in “industrial relations activities”, saying Parliament’s intervention is required and that students should not miss school because of the impasse.
“We had hoped that they [University Management] will not use the students as pawns; we had thought we would first iron out these issues before students are called back. Unfortunately, that has not happened,” he said.
Kadaga said to make a decision on the standoff; the petitioners should first furnish her with the ‘Rwendeire report’, which the embattled staff say should be implemented to end the wrangling.
“It is a matter of regret that so much is going on at Makerere. We are concerned if I could be given a copy of the Rwendeire report, we will make a decision and there will be public hearings where you will appear,” she said.
Mr Kamunyu and other staff at the university are on suspension, taking half pay while others have up to 4 years unpaid forced leave.
They disagree with Prof Nawangwe’s management style, and have been advocating for pay raise and a better working environment.
Following incessant striking and financial woes at the university, President Museveni in 2016 appointed a Visitation Committee headed by Prof Abel Rwendeire (now deceased).
In its report, the Rwendeire Committee recommended sweeping reforms in financial and administrative management of the university but has since become a paper tiger.
Prof Nawangwe has been at loggerheads with staff, who he can now interdict and fire after an amendment to the university’s human resource manual sailed through, granting him sweeping powers over staff.
The embattled staff have since downed tools, amidst denials and contradictions by Prof Nawangwe who on Twitter claimed there was no strike by the university’s academic staff.
Meanwhile, Makerere University School of Law lecturers have in a strongly worded statement described Prof Nawangwe’s actions as illegal and unconstitutional