President Museveni has recommended the re-appointment of Prof Waswa Balunywa as the Principal of Makerere University Business School (MUBS), a move that is likely to extend his tenure at the helm of the government institution to more than a decade.
In an April 29 letter to the Minister of Education, Mrs Janet Museveni, the President said Prof Balunywa has served diligently and there is no reason why he should not continue.
“Since Prof Balunywa is a serious implementer of programmes and a serious educationist whose institution has never seen part of the indiscipline of strikes, etc, I have no objection to his re-appointment if all other factors are in order,” Mr Museveni’s letter reads in part.
On April 11, the First Lady directed the Education Service Commission, which is the appointing body, to kick start the process of finding Prof Balunywa’s replacement since his five-year contract was set to expired on May 3.
However, the President said he was endorsing the proposal by the chairman MUBS Council, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, that Prof Balunywa be re-appointed to the position
“I have seen a copy of a letter Prof Venansius Baryamureeba wrote to you on the 5th of March, 2018, regarding the expiry of Prof Balunywa’s term of office. He proposes that Prof Balunywa be re-appointed as principal of Makerere University Business School (MUBS),” the letter reads in part.
Early this week, we reported that former State Minister for Works Asuman Kiyingi and Prof Baryamureeba were engaged in a bitter exchange of words over Prof Balunywa’s re-appointment.
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.
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.
Prof Balunywa’s tenure has had mixed results. He has been praised for maintaining the institution’s semi-autonomous status amid pressures to merge with the parent institution, Makerere University.
He has overseen the growth of the student numbers to about 17,000 by the end of 2016.
The institution’s field of research has grown and now has collaboration with about 15 universities at regional and international levels. It has collaborations with the University of Nairobi, University of Dar-es-salaam, Mountain Kenya University, University of Edinburgh and others, especially with research in doctoral programs.