The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has approved the new governing council for the Ankole Western Institute of Science and Technology (AWIST).
The AWIST council is headed by the Kyambogo University Vice Chancellor, Prof Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya.
NCHE also ruled that the university campus will remain at Kabwohe in Sheema District.
This position was reached on Wednesday evening in Kampala, at a meeting chaired by the NCHE Executive Director, Prof John Opuda-Asibo and leaders from the Anglican Diocese of West Ankole led by Bishop Yona Katoneene and Diocesan Chancellor Marvin Baryaruha.
Prof Asibo on Thursday confirmed that the meeting, which followed President Museveni’s directive, reached an amicable solution to the wrangles that have been hampering the university since last year.
“I told them that it was important that the university is not destroyed because it is a national institution and more important than any individual,” Prof Asibo said.
“We agreed that whatever mistakes might have been made, the new council will continue working, and the bishop will organise a proper handover ceremony by the old council,” Prof Asibo told Saturday Monitor.
Others present at the Wednesday meeting included political leaders from both Bushenyi and Sheema districts; ministers Mary Karooro Okurut (Labour and Gender), Prof Ephraim Kamuntu (Water and Environment), Elioda Tumwesigye (Health); Bushenyi District Chairman Willis Bashaasha; Mr Bategana Katwiremu (Sheem South MP) and Mr Yese Mubangizi, a member of the university’s old council.
Prof Katunguka, who has since replaced Prof Kamuntu as council chairman, also attended the meeting.
The meeting followed another between President Museveni and AWIST leaders on January 22 at State Lodge in Fort Portal, Kabarole District.
During the Fort Portal meeting, it was agreed that education experts from the NCHE scrutinise the university project and find out whether it should continue operating and determine when to open other branches of the university.
On Wednesday, the meeting with NCHE resolved that the new council would spearhead the effort to acquire a university status for the institute and also open new branches. Prof Asibo said he would honour an invitation to go on the ground and check on the progress of the university status project.
Ankole Western Institute of Science and Technology (AWIST) was founded by West Ankole Diocese in 2005. In November 2007, AWIST applied for a licence as a tertiary college of learning. In July 2008, the licence was granted and the Institute was given authority to award certificates and diplomas in specified courses.
A group of people calling themselves “concerned stakeholders” from Sheema District have been at loggerheads with the West Ankole Diocese bishop and AWIST Chancellor Rt Rev Yonna Katoneene since 2013, accusing him of plotting to shift AWIST campus from Sheema to Bushenyi District.
Members of the new governing council include: Prof Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya (chairman), Assoc. Prof Mauda Kamatenetsi (vice chairperson), Mr Henry Tuhirirwe, Mr Yoram Tibasiimwa, Rev Arthur Atwine, Dr Hosea Muhanguzi, Mr Kamanzi Peter Katureebe, Ms Immaculate Mugisha, Mr Willis Bashaasha, Mr Charles Mushangye, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye and Mr Apollo Buzaare.
Other five members are the principal, academic registrar, staff representative, representative of the alumni and the guild president.