Kamya intervenes in Makerere leadership wrangles

IGG Beti Kamya

What you need to know:

  • The IGG was dragged into the in-fighting at CEES after a petition led by Dr Jude Ssempebwa, an associate professor, who had previously vied for the position of Dean at the School, lost to Dr Ronald Bisaso.

The Inspectorate of Government has directed Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe to halt the election of a dean at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) pending investigations into the manner in which it was being conducted.

Makerere was due to elect the Dean of School of High Education Studies and Development today but in a June 29 letter, the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, said she had received complaints from the academic staff at CEES that the exercise was irregular.
“I hereby direct you, under Article 230(2) of the Constitution... to halt the process of the election exercise of the Dean of School of High Education Studies and Development pending completion of our investigations,” Ms Kamya wrote.

The IGG was dragged into the in-fighting at CEES after a petition led by Dr Jude Ssempebwa, an associate professor, who had previously vied for the position of Dean at the School, lost to Dr Ronald Bisaso. The two officials are said to be at logger heads and their wrangles have left at least five PhD students unable to graduate as the officials cannot approve each other’s work.
The alleged irregularity involves the inclusion of two visiting professors who have been added on the voter register with Dr  Ssempebwa arguing that they are “ghost voters” being enlisted to back his rival Prof Fred Bakkabulindi.

Planned election
This publicationr understands the election was first organised on May 18 but it failed to take off after a section of staff protested the inclusion of visiting academic staff they claimed they had never even seen at the School.

Dr Hamis Mugendawala, the National Planning Authority, and Dr Ben Daniel, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, are the two visiting staff.

“They never took up their appointments and are not visiting the School, contrary to the obligations set out in their appointment letters and in the university’s human resources manual,”  Dr Ssempebwa said.

Backed by five other senior academic staff at the School – Joseph Kimoga, Hilarly Mukwenda, Irene Etomaru, Stella Eduan, and Tom Darlington Balojja – Dr Ssempebwa petitioned the University Council and the Director of Human Resource, resulting in a directive that the Principal of CEES, Dr Anthony Mugagga, investigates the matter.

Asked if his investigation had been completed as per the June 18 directive by Mr Lawrence Sssanyu, the acting HR director, and if he had given the green light for the election, Prof Mugagga referred us to the university communications officer, Ms Rita Namisango.

The Academic Registrar, Mr Alfred Masikye Namoah, also declined repeated requests to comment on the matter but Daily Monitor is privy to a June 23 letter by the vice chancellor instructing  him (Namoah) to take “immediate steps and organise the election for the dean without further delays but not later than June 30.”

Prof Nawangwe, who also instructed the chief security officer to provide security during the election to avoid a scenario like in May when the staff protested the irregularity in the process, said he had relied on information from the acting dean of the School.
According to the Vice Chancellor’s letter, the acting dean and new deputy principal had responded to inquiry about the legality of the two visiting professors and whether they were executing their duties

Prof Nawangwe did not name the acting dean – who is understood to be Bisaso – and he also was not explicit on what response Bisaso had given on the status of the two visiting academic staff. When we contacted the Vice Chancellor, he did not respond and Ms Namisango said he (Nawangwe) was the only one in position to address the matter.
While Dr Bisaso declined to comment on the matter, Prof Bakkabulindi did not pick our calls and messages sent to his email addresses and WhatsApp.

The IGG’s intervention follows long-running feuds at CEES, the most recent in March when Dr Nicholas Itaaga, an associate professor, petitioned the University Council and the Chancellor protesting the controversial election of Dr Bisaso as Deputy Principal.

Itaaga had defeated Bisaso in the Search Committee interviews and been recommended for the top job, only for Prof Nawangwe to call for an election whose result overruled the Search Committee.

Some of the PhD students affected by the infighting at the College are understood to be smelling some coffee, with Peter Ntale telling Daily Monitor they will take their chances and reveal their situation to the IGG for further investigations.

IGG spokesperson Munira Ali said whenever such happens, they are compelled to widen their investigations.

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