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Mbarara University staffs temporarily suspend strike, set tough conditions

Members of staffs voting on suspending the strike (PHOTO/Bob Aine)

MBARARA – The Academic staffs at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) under their umbrella body, the MUSTASA have suspended their strike to allow students sit for end of semester exams but on tough conditions.

This was reached at during a General Assembly held on Friday evening at Main Lecturer Theatre hall.

The move came followed a request by the Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Sports which met University staff, top management and members of the University Council at Kihumuro main compass.

During that meeting, the staff were requested to suspend the strike and allow students do their end of semester exams as the committee handles most of their queries that compelled them to lay down their tools on May 2, 2019.

The General Assembly was chaired by the general secretary of the MUSTASA Julius Taremwa who first gave a report of what transpired in the meeting with MPs on the committee and later allowed members of staffs to react.

In the report, Mr. Taremwa mentioned that out of their five issues they had raised which included allowing the search committee to start the process of selecting a new vice chancellor, commencing of the forensic audit, meeting council members, parliament intervening into the matters all were achieved apart from Vice Chancellor Obua and the university secretary to step aside and be retired in public interest which the committee promised to handle administratively.

Mr. Taremwa said that they have not recalled the strike but rather have just suspended it in case the resolutions with the committee of parliament are not addressed with in a period of four weeks as requested that they will resume the strike.

“The people we are fighting with to have university issues resolved should know that we have not recalled the strike, its just suspension that’s why we had to convene a general assembly to have a consensus as per the request of the committee of parliament. But our guns are still cocked, the fish is still in the hook any time we shall pull it if our issues are not resolved in four weeks”

Chairperson MUSTASA addressing the university staff members. They later voted to suspend the strike. (PHOTO/Bob Aine)

He added that council promised the committee to have completed the forensic audit in two weeks and as the search committee also starts its work.

Dr. Aribaku Wilfred a staffs pointed out the issues of intimidation and harassment from the top management whom they are fighting with.

“Right now the people we are trying to eliminate are not happy with us, they are in fear and intimidating staffs so as we suspend this strike how are we going to deal with that?” Asked Wilfred.

In response, Mr. Taremwa said “if at all such issues tend to continue then we shall put it to council if they fail to handle we shall go back to the bush”

“You people do you remember the Nairobi peace talks, you go for peace talks but leave your guns cocked so that incase the peace talks fail you start shooting the enemy from there, we want to let the people we are fighting with that we are not disarmed but also creating an exit for an enemy in fighting is good, it becomes a chance for him to get a chance to escape “Added Julius.

On the student’s exams, Dr. John Emenyu the chairman MUSTASA said that they are going to issue the circular to all departments telling them how they have suspended the strike so that they prepare to give exams to students in one week time.

“We realized that students are our allies  and we cannot make them suffer in our issues, let them do the exams but the people we are fighting with should know that there is marking and release of marks that one will be determined by how expeditiously are they going to handle our matters. Dr. Emenyu roared.

Students on Thursday had protested that if the administration extends the exams for one week, they should be compensated each student with shs15000 per day to allow them cater for their daily meals and accommodation since their landlords will be on their neck.

However this seemed to be hard to be implemented by the university and even the committee parliament on education said it cannot be possible.

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