Kampala. A May 28 letter by President Museveni, released yesterday appeared to have ended the leadership impasse at Makerere University Business School (Mubs), with the incumbent directing the re-appointment of the School’s Principal, Prof Wasswa Balunywa.
In the letter, President Museveni directs First Lady and Education minister Janet Museveni to re-appoint Prof Balunywa, 64, for another four-year term, breathing life into the career of the man who has been at the helm of the institution since 1991 when it was Makerere University’s Faculty of Commerce.
The news of the end of Prof Balunywa’s term had sparked off a public debate, with some groups calling for an end of his reign at Mubs while others put up a spirited fight urging for his re-appointment.
Battle lines had also been drawn between Prof Balunywa and Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, the Mubs Council chairman, over who is in charge among other issues. On the same day as President Museveni’s letter is dated, Prof Baryamureeba had chaired a meeting that replaced Prof Balunywa with Prof Moses Muhwezi as the acting principal.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Prof Balunywa welcomed his re-appointment, saying it gives him the opportunity to complete his “expansion plan”.
He and his team, he said, have challenged themselves to transfer business education to all corners of the country by making it accessible and cheaper to Ugandans.
“We have a five-year plan to open more branches in Gulu, Entebbe and maybe Fort Portal so as to increase access to business education. By opening these centres, we want to lower the cost of accessing business education and create more entrepreneurs,” he said.
Asked how he will relate with Prof Baryamureeba with whom he appeared to have fallen out, Prof Balunywa said he was not interested in personal fights but was rather focused on a fight to achieve a common objective rather than discussing personalities.
“I hope he finds the statements he made about me regrettable. We shall find a way of resolving it. We are born with character but we find ways of resolving differences to achieve common objectives not personal objectives,” he said.
Our repeated telephone calls to Prof Baryamureeba went unanswered. We were also unable to reach Mr Alex Kakooza, the permanent secretary in the Education ministry.
Meanwhile, the Education Service Commission has described the recent public spat between the two erstwhile colleagues and friends as an unnecessary fight of egos.
The Permanent Secretary of the Education Service Commission, Dr Asuman Lukwago, in an interview, advised the two leaders to read, understand and appreciate the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, which he said is elaborate and provides no room for such fights.
“They do not understand their roles; management and Council are related but the Council chairman cannot supervise management as an individual; there is no room for the chairperson to overrule other members of Council,” he said.
Dr Lukwago blamed the Mubs Council for the Monday meeting which appointed Prof Muhwezi as the acting principal, saying the university council does not have powers to appoint staff at the rank of deputy principal and above because that is the mandate of the Education Service Commission which also recommends names to the appointing authority who is either the education minister or the president.
Prof Balunywa yesterday said he can never accept to be appraised by Prof Baryamureeba because it is already evident in the writings he has posted in various fora that he is biased.