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Makerere Board dismisses case against two staff association leaders

Makerere University Appointments Board has exonerated Bennet Magara and Joseph Kalema, that previously suspended by the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, in December 2018. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Makerere University Appointments Board has exonerated Bennet Magara and Joseph Kalema, both senior administrative staff, of any wrongdoing following their suspension.

The two were suspended by Makerere University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, in December last year for their alleged involvement in acts of ‘hooliganism’, committing acts that were prejudicial to the proper performance of duties of the university and hurting the university image.

However, on Tuesday afternoon, May 7, the Appointments Board delivered its ruling that was read by counsel Kiryowa Kiwanuka. The other board members are Jude Mbabaali, Dr. Sarah Ssali, Dr. Winston Tumps Ireeta and Jolly Uzamukunda Karabaaya.

The board said prosecution failed to present evidence that Mr Joseph Kalema and Mr Bennet Magara committed acts that are prejudicial to the proper performance of duties of the university’s image.

“It is our view that in this case prosecution relied on mere allegations, hearsay as well as unsubstantiated facts and failed to prove the guilt of the respondents. Their evidence is so weak that it does not prove the ingredients of the offence with which the respondents are charged. It is our decision that the charges against the respondents should be dismissed. The respondents are therefore discharged,” reads part of the report dated May 6.

The committee noted that they spent their time discussing a matter that was not related to the charges laid before the respondents though those matters could also constitute offences.

“The employer should set out the alleged misconduct clearly and should throughout the disciplinary process be consistent in what it is accusing the employee of. There are no rules as to the level of investigation the employer should conduct into the employee’s suspected misconduct. Investigation should take place prior to any disciplinary action,” Mr Kiryowa observed.

In the December 21st, 2018 suspension letters, Prof. Nawangwe accused the duo of mobilising staff members to pitch camp at the Main Building and escort Ms. Ruth Iteu Eyoku, the staff representative to the inaugural Council meeting well knowing she had not been invited.

However, the two denied the accusations during the hearing by the Appointments Board. They argued that they showed up at the Main Building on December 20, 2018, to serve the University Secretary, Vice Chancellor and other officials and were not involved in any scuffle as claimed.

Through their lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde of Center for Legal Aid, the accused staff complained that the investigations were not carried out in accordance with the rules of natural justice and asked the Board to dismiss the charges levelled against them.

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