MAKERERE – Suspended staff of Makerere University have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, asking the House to investigate a host of irregularities in the administration of the institution.
The embattled staff led by Dr. James Ocita, asked that Parliament institutes a committee to investigate several individuals in leadership positions for “gross administrative malpractices, irregularities, widespread impunity, victimization of students and staff, abuse of office and conflict of interest.”
The petitioners, who met Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Friday, January 4, cited the University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang, and Prof. Mahmood Mamdani as those who needed investigating.
The petition follows a decision by Makerere Appointments Board to purge up to 45 staff members for various violations including assault, abscondment from duty, negligence of duty and insubordination.
The petitioners said that they had been dismissed or suspended through social media and were not provided with any official communication.
“Many of us here have been suspended for over two years without any fair hearing and we have never received written letters of suspension, termination or dismissal,” said Ocita.
“The [Appointments] Board should have attached our written judgments to our letters but this was not the case. The staff members were dismissed without a fair hearing contrary to requirements of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders and the Constitution,” he added.
The petitioners also want the instituted parliamentary committee to probe the misappropriation of internally generated funds and project funds, procurement, and disposal of public assets; the university payroll, and claims of grabbing of land belonging to the university in Kololo, Makindye, Katalemwa, Kabanyolo, and Katanga.
Further, the dismissed staff prayed that the committee reviews irregular appointments of members of the University Council; and the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act on composition and nomination and appointment of persons to the Council.
Speaker Kadaga said that it was “disheartening to see the mighty tower [Makerere University] is tottering but we hope that we shall work out something to give you more stability”.
She said she would work with the House Committee on Education and Sports to find a solution to the problems at the university.
“When House resumes next week, we shall work with the Committee on Education to see how to stabilize the institution; and with the help of the outcomes of the commission of inquiries to guide us on the way forward,” she said.
Parliament resumes business from the Christmas and New Year break on Tuesday 8 January 2019.