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Balunywa’s fight with deputy threatens to break up MUBS

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By  Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi

Posted  Sunday, December 15  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

At loggerheads. Accusations and counter accusations from Mubs principal and his deputy is said to be affecting the smooth running of the university.

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Kampala- A committee set up to investigate the wrangles between two officials of Makerere University Business School (Mubs) has finalised its work, a highly-placed source has said.

The Mubs Council Chairperson, Prof Venansious Baryamureeba, Sunday Monitor learnt, set up the committee on the belief that the working relations between the School’s principal, Prof Waswa Balunywa and his deputy, Prof Samuel Ssejjaaka, had deteriorated to a level that warranted intervention.

The people involved
Prof Baryamureeba appointed three members of the council to investigate the causes of disagreements between the duo and recommend solutions.

The committee was chaired by Dr John Kiyaga, assisted by Mr Stephen Kasangaki and Ms Victoria Byoma as members.
Dr Kiyaga confirmed he chaired the committee but referred us to Prof Baryamureeba for further details.
Prof Baryamureeba was reportedly out of the country and could not be reached on phone by the time of filing this report.
Genesis of the conflict
Prof Balunywa’s contract expired in May and its renewal in June caused discomfort to many.
He was Mubs’ founding principal in 1998 and some academic staff members have been protesting his long stay at the helm of the institution.

They had hoped he would leave in May upon the expiry of his second term.
A group of “whistle blowers” started releasing pieces of information to coincide with the expiry of his term.
They accused him of employing his relatives at the School, financial mismanagement and personalising the institution.

Prof Balunywa’s defence
Prof Balunywa rebutted that Mubs was one of the best managed institutions in the country and blamed the allegations on those he said were eyeing his job.
When he was offered another five-year term in June, his opponents went to court on account that he was supposed to serve only two terms and that he had been illegally reappointed.

Court case
In the case now before the Civil Division of the High Court, Prof Balunywa’s opponents claim his reappointment was irregular and that the minutes which approved it were forged.
They also question Prof Balunywa’s academic papers.

The case is being prosecuted by lawyers, including Dr James Akampumuza, a former dean at Mubs, who was involved in a bitter fight with Prof Balunywa before leaving the institution.

Documents seen by Sunday Monitor indicate that in recent times, the two topmost administrators at Mubs have traded bitter exchanges, a situation that is threatening to jeopardise the smooth running of the university.

How it started
The most recent fallout was sparked by a letter from Prof Ssejjaaka, informing Prof Balunywa that his gratuity had not been paid for a long time.

Prof Balunywa, in a September 17 response, blamed the delay in the payment on “cash flow problems”. But in his letter, he also accused his deputy of failing to complete his job evaluation form for the previous year.
Prof Balunywa said he had reported this to the school’s Appointments Board and that he would also mention it at the next Council sitting.
He also accused Prof Ssejjaaka of failing to formalise his sick leave. Prof Ssejjaaka had spent months away from work due to sickness.
Prof Ssejjaaka wrote back, saying his residence had not been furnished and he had not received a car/transport facilitation as entitled to him since he took office.

Prof Ssejjaaka added that he had personally discussed these matters with Prof Balunywa “over the years in futility,” and that the matter was even referred to Council in 2011. He claimed that the Council directed Prof Balunywa to provide these entitlements.

Conflicting accounts
Prof Ssejjaaka accused Balunywa of including issues which had not been raised in the former’s appeal for official entitlements, but which nevertheless were fundamental.
Prof Ssejjaaka said he had submitted the evaluation form to the Human Resource Manager several months before, as required.

emukiibi@ug.nationmedia.com