Lecturers who were expelled in a recent shake up at Makerere University have this morning handed to the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, a petition challenging their dismissal from the institution.
The university on December 23, 2018, announced the expulsion of 32 staff and suspension of 13 others for absconding from duty, failure to complete studies, financial fraud, assault and actions prejudicial to the university image, negligence from duty and insubordination.
But the lecturers have challenged the action as unlawful. Led by Dr James Ocita, a senior lecturer in Literature Department and former Research Fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research, the staffs now want the university to probe the decision of the appointments board and other excesses in the management of the university.
Dr Ocita who was expelled for insubordination demanded a forensic audit into the misappropriation of internally generated revenue, grabbing of university land, gross administrative malpractices and irregular appointments of careerist members of Council, particularly Bruce Balaba Kabaasa and Thomas Tayebwa.
The duo was on the previous council as government representatives. However, university staff asked the ministry of education not to nominate them again on grounds that they were a liability rather than assets in guiding management. The ministry heeded to the prayers. However, they bounced back as public representatives in the new council constituted towards the end of December.
Public representatives on the council are nominated by council members and voted. Kabaasa was chairman appointments board that sealed the fate of the terminated staff.
Dr Ocita said staffs are terrified by the level of impunity and greed by senior management officials at Makerere University. He said the recent expulsion of the staff was a thinly veiled attempt to victimize staffs who are trying to hold management officials accountable.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the petition will be sent to the education committee when parliament resumes business next week. Kadaga added that the matter will also be brought to the attention of the minister Janet Kataaha Museveni and referenced to the recommendations of the 2016 visitation committee.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe yesterday said the staffs petitioning the speaker are ignorant of procedures. Prof Nawangwe said the staff should have petitioned the Makerere University Staff Appeals Tribunal.
The tribunal is established under the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, as a system through which aggrieved members of staff get a right to a fair hearing and appropriate redress, without hindrances from the University structure. The tribunal is chaired by lawyer George Omunyokol.