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Mbarara University Fails To Pay Cuban Professors, Decries Ban On Travel Allowances 

Officials from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) have decried the ban imposed on government entities against foreign travels, saying this has left the University incapable of paying the Cuban professors hired to teach students at the institution.

“Because the element of foreign travel was suspended, for two years these professors have been using their personal money for which they want a refund, so that is the matter that is itching us and this Committee should get interested in,” said Melchoir Byaruhanga, University Secretary at MUST.

He said that although the University has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cuban Government, where their doctors teach students at Mbarara University, the professors from Cuban haven’t been paid for their travels from Cuba to Uganda as well as Uganda back to Cuba, because of the ban imposed by Government on international travels.

“Of course our staffing levels are quite not appealing at 22%, we aren’t doing well. We have a protocol between governments of Cuba and Uganda through which MUST gets professors in the Medical School and one of the conditions in the protocol is that Government facilitates the movement of the professors and for their annual leave. When they traveled last time, there was a bill of Shs24M, which is on file,” said Byaruhanga.

The revelation prompted Michael Mawanda (Igara East) to task the University Management to explain how students are being taught with a staffing level of only 22% yet the core mandate of the University is to pass on knowledge to students. Mawanda also asked the University if there have been efforts made to refund the Cuban professors by writing to Government.

“I know your core mandate is teaching and training so it is important that you have enough teachers to teach students. How many professors and senior lecturers with PHDs do you have because those are core and have you made any effort to write to government to give you more staff? This 22% what is the category, it might be 22% yet most of them are cleaners,” asked Mawanda.

Medard Ssegona, Chairperson Public Accounts Committee asked the University to furnish the Committee with the protocol signed with Cuba and wondered if the Ugandan medical students are taken to Cuba for bench-marking in order to get some skills.

“How much are they claiming we could be talking when it isn’t much and who have you trying to resolve this with we don’t want to be in breach of the protocol and also bring down their morale in coming to give us knowledge,” Ssegona said.

The University Secretary also revealed that regulations are being made to control and determine the use of research knowledge, after the University was engrossed in bickering with Professor Patrick Ogwang who was the lead researcher in the Covid remedy named Covidex over ownership.

His revelation was in response to a question asked by Fredrick Angura (Tororo South) who asked the University to explain if the conflict between the University and Professor Ogwang had been resolved.

Byaruhanga said that the matter was resolved and that it was just a misunderstanding and that now modalities are being put in place to avoid such future conflict.

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