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Confusion as MUASA chairperson receives warning letter from Vice Chancellor

FILE PHOTO: Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has tasked the interim Makerere University Academic Staff Association –MUASA chairperson, Associate Professor Edward Nector Mwavu, to explain his comments to the media about intern allowances.

In his June 18th letter to Dr. Mwavu, Nawangwe cites statements in an article in the Daily Monitor published on the same date titled; “Mak Freezes Pay for Interns”. He accuses Dr. Mwavu of making unsubstantiated claims contrary to the university communication policy, which he says cast the university in negative light.

“As you may know, for Makerere University to influence, inspire and positively impact the socio-economic transformation of our motherland and beyond, it often depends on the way members of the university community and the institution are perceived in the media…” Professor Nawangwe states in part his letter. Adding that; “You are quoted as having said that ‘Makerere University Management was spending substantial resources on useless items.’ This is to require you to substantiate your claims by close of business on Friday 28th June 2019 and in any case not later than 5:00 pm.” Nawangwe’s letter is written on the letterhead of the Office of the Chairperson of the University Council, which has caused a stir among staff with some accusing the Vice Chancellor of usurping the powers of the council.

While the Daily Monitor article quoted Mwavu as the interim head of the academic staff association, the letter is addressed to him as a lecturer in the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences.

Dr. Mwavu told URN that he will be in position to respond to the Vice Chancellor’s letter upon advice from his lawyers. “I have passed on your communication to my lawyer for advice since the allegations you make against me are grave. Once I receive the advice, I will immediately revert to you,” says Mwavu in his June 27 letter to the Vice Chancellor.

Dr. Mwavu told URN in an interview that he was confused as to whether the offices of the Chairperson of Council and the Vice Chancellor were fused.

Mwavu also denied saying the said “unsubstantiated claims” arguing that journalists have at times reported as they please, and that he was not the first one to be misquoted.

Lorna Magara, the Chairperson of the Makerere University Council disassociated herself from the said letter, arguing that it was a forged document.

“The letter you referred to, I have seen. It was NOT a letter from the Chairperson of Council. It is a forged letter. If you look at the details – the letterhead, the Cc and how they are addressed – are all wrong! The Stamp ink is washed out (faint) and that is not the color of MAK logo. The Cc addresses DVCFA as substantive and yet his position has changed,” she said.

Magara further opines that all staff issues are handled by the university management and that council doesn’t intend to manage the day-to-day operations of the university.

“Staff issues are managed by Management. If they are not happy with Management decisions, there are other channels of appeal that they can work with/through to have the issues resolved. Council is an independent body that supervises Management that is why it cannot be involved in managerial issues otherwise it would be deemed to be usurping the work of Management,” Magara disclosed to URN on Friday.

Adding that; “The University is governed by several governing documents among, which are the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act-UOTIA 2001 and the Human Resource manual. All decisions must be guided by these documents.”

Under normal circumstances, a letter from the university council would be written by the university Secretary, who is also the Secretary to the University Council on request or directive by the chairperson.

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