KAMPALA: Former State Minister for Works Asuman Kiyingi and former Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Venansius Baryamureeba are engaged in a bitter exchange of words over the vacant Principal’s job at Makerere University Business School (MUBS).
Last month, this website reported that Prof Waswa Balunywa’s 15-year tenure as MUBS Principal could be over after the Minister of Education, Mrs Janet Museveni, directed the Education Service Commission, which is the appointing body, to kick start the process of finding a replacement.
And on Sunday, Mr Kiyingi claimed that whereas the President wants Professor Balunywa re-appointed to the position, Prof Baryamureeba, who is the chairperson of MUBS Council, is fighting to take over the job.
“This is a classic case of sectarianism. The President wants Professor Balunywa re-appointed as MUBS Principal but a scheming Baryamureeba exploiting his tribal and religious networks is fighting to grab the job. Prof Balunywa’s stellar performance record seems a secondary matter. He suffers the double tragedy of being a Musoga and a Muslim at the same time in a system that looks down upon both,” he said.
“I have very recently been a victim of similar tribal and religious forces though in my case it was compounded with Busoga’s PhD politics. I hope this time round the President prevails over these sectarian forces holding him hostage,” he added.
But in response, Prof Baryamureeba denied the allegations of wanting the position and said Mr Kiyingi was playing cheap, sectarian politics. He instead said he had recommended Balunywa for reappointment a month before the First Lady’s letter.
“Asuman Kiyingi, you have not disputed the fact that in writing on March 5, I recommended Prof Balunywa for reappointment and this letter was copied to him (Prof Balunywa). I did this, well knowing that for all public CEO positions like for Principal MUBS, there is a requirement that they should be publically advertised so that there is transparency and fairness and all eligible Ugandans should be accorded an opportunity to apply and then allowed fair competition. But I still recommended him for re-appointment any way as long as he met the eligibility criteria. Mind you I did this without calling a MUBS Council meeting, that is, I did it on behalf of MUBS Council,” he said.
“So who are your credible sources? Prof. Balunywa fanatics, tribe mates or supporters? If you were not Muslim I would have asked you what alcohol you had taken that influenced your write-up,” he added.
“Some of us are beyond stupid lobbying that involves character assassination of innocent Ugandans. Hon. Asuman Kiyingi, your submission after my submission puts you under stupid Ugandans. Let me now assure you that as long as I live, I shall never be stupid or support the breaking of the law of Uganda I love so dearly. Either the law is on side or it’s not. So go on with your stupidity until we cross our path again. Lastly don’t expect any other public response from me, but remember going forward I shall execute my duties as a chairperson of MUBS Council without fear or favor,” he said.
Prof Balunywa, who was appointed to the position in 2003, has had three five-year contract extensions to the job, with the current one set to expire on May 3, 2018.
In an April 11, 2018 letter to the chairman Education Service Commission, Mrs. Museveni says the position should be advertised as soon as the Education ministry Permanent Secretary avails to the Commission the specifications for the job.
“The purpose of this letter is to request you that Education Service Commission finalizes the process of appointment of the next principal of MUBS before the contract of the current one expires to avoid a leadership vacuum,” the First Lady’s letter reads in part.
The Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, 2001, tasks the Education Service Commission to appoint principals and deputy principals for public tertiary institutions such as MUBS.