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Mbarara University: Staff petition Speaker Kadaga over irregular interdiction of varsity PRO

Members of staffs voting on the industrial action last month. (PHOTO/BOB AINE)

MBARARA – Tension is mounting at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), as an academic staff has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over irregular interdiction of the University’s Public Relations Officer (PRO).

In a petition dated June 13, addressed to Kadaga reveals that the matter of threatening violence as alleged by Vice Chancellor Prof. Obua, cannot be pursued by him and the University Secretary Melchior Byaruhanga who are currently under scrutiny following the staffs’ accusation of misconduct and mismanagement of the University as contained in their petition of April, 04 which was addressed to the University Council.

They have also accused the University’s management of continued harassment.

It should be noted that Denis Lukaaya (PRO) was interdicted in a letter dated June, 07 for threatening violence against Prof. Obua which he said arose from a meeting which the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Sports held on May, 09.

The meeting was attended by leaders of the academic staff’s associations, staff representatives and top management at Kihumuro main compass.

The agenda of the meeting was to pave the way for dialogue on resolving a number of issues including both the staff and students’ strikes which were ongoing.

The University employees under their umbrella association of Mbarara University of Science and Technology Academic Staff Association (MUSTASA) held a general assembly on Monday 10, June and issued an ultimatum of 48 hours to Mr. Byaruhanga to withdraw the letters.

The decision to petition the Speaker came up after a 48-hour ultimatum elapsed which demanded that Mr. Byaruhanga with immediate effect should withdraw the letters but he (Byaruhanga) refused to comply.

“The letters of allegations and interdiction from University secretary Byaruhanga were written and delivered on the same day June, 07 without giving the accused a chance to defend himself,” the petition read.

“…This clearly violates the principle of natural justice. It was not only unfortunate but is also not in line with the disciplinary procedures stipulated in MUST’s human resource manual 2010(as amended 2018)” Reads an excerpt from the petition.

It adds that this is sheer abuse of authority and prejudice on the side of both the University Secretary who wrote the letters and the Vice Chancellor who made the allegations about PRO Denis Lukaaya.

“Before petitioning your office as the right Honourable speaker, an opportunity was given to the University Secretary to withdraw the two letters and reinstate Lukaaya to his office. However, Byaruhanga has since chosen to remain silent on this matter and the staff have no choice but to address the matter to your kind attention to action.” the petition further reads.

Julius Taremwa, the General Secretary for MUSTASA confirmed petitioning the Speaker since what they agreed in the meeting of May, 9 when they met with the parliamentary committee on Education and Sports nothing has been fulfilled by the University Council.

They had mutually agreed that there shouldn’t be any staff harassment, interdiction and that the search committee to have the new Vice Chancellor immediately commences its work and a forensic audit be carried out about the mismanagement of University funds within two weeks.

Taremwa confirmed that nothing has been worked on.

“Things seem to be the same ever since we met with the committee, we were requested to suspend our industrial action as they handle our grievances which we did but none of the agreed resolutions has been implemented. They should know that we just suspended, we did not stop, and our ‘guns’ are still cocked if nothing is done then we shall resume from where we stopped.” Taremwa asserted.

Dr. Viola Nyakato, the Dean in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies said members of the search committee have not been empowered by the University’s top management and Council to start the process.

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