Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, has been overwhelmingly re-elected as leader of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association – MUASA.
MUASA Electoral Commission Chairman, Michael Byaruhanga on Monday evening declared Dr. Kamunyu Muhwezi the winner after a month-long election process.
Dr. Kamunyu won in all the 11 polling stations with a total of 605 votes representing 83.5% out of 725 ballots cast against his challenger Dr. Hajji Hussein Oria, who garnered 120 votes representing 16.5% of the overall votes cast.
The 43-year old Kamunyu is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Forestry, Bio-Diversity and Tourism in the School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, while Dr. Hajji Oria is a Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy, who previously served as the association Treasurer.
Associate Professor Edward Nector Mwavu was also re-elected MUASA Deputy Chairperson after he polled 597 (81.05%) votes thrashing Crispus Mayora who obtained 137 (18.9%) votes.
The Electoral Chairperson says they expected 1,200 voters but had a turnout of 725 valid votes. Ten votes turned out invalid after the tally, while 17 individuals voted by proxy. In the MUASA 2018 polls, a total of 682 academic staff voted.
CPA Chris Charles Kitale is the new MUASA treasurer. The Electoral commission declared him winner with 483 votes representing 69% of the votes cast. His challenger Deogracious Bamweyana managed 215 votes, representing 30% of the votes cast.
Meanwhile, Dr. Christine Mbabazi Mpyangu, is the new MUASA Vice General Secretary after polling 515 votes (72.5%) against her rival who is also the incumbent Dr. Geoffrey Nuwagaba. Dr. Nuwagaba managed 197 votes (27.6%).
On Friday, Dr. Winston Tumps Ireeta, the MUASA Council Representative posted in staff mailing lists rallying staff to vote Kamunyu’s competitor citing that it would enable the MUASA Council Representatives to work better with the association executive. None of the candidates he vouched for has been voted.
The act by Dr. Ireeta to openly campaign for a candidate, yet he is a representative of MUASA on Council has angered a section of staff.
Speaking after he was declared winner, Dr. Kamunyu said his re-election is a confirmation that whatever he was doing on behalf of staff was merited.
He says it is “a vote of confidence to me in what I did in the last two years. And also to bring happiness to me that whatever happened to me was for their own good.”
Dr. Kamunyu says what the MUASA leadership was doing was good for the institution, looking into the future, to secure the staff’s welfare and improved learning environment where both the staff and students are well motivated.
While Dr. Kamunyu comes back at the helm of MUASA, there are fears that his work methods might remain confrontational and is likely to antagonize the university operations through strikes.
“I am not confrontational because in the last two years, we have had a staff strike once. And this strike was about me and having been irregularly suspended by the vice chancellor. They [management] are actually the ones who are confrontational,” says Dr. Kamunyu.
But Kamunyu says the work methods are not determined by him, but rather staff through General Assemblies. He argues that the biggest challenge at Makerere University is facing the truth by a section of managers and negotiating around the truth and honesty.
Dr Kamunyu has barely returned from a six months’ suspension from university service and has completed a rocky term characterized by clashes between the association and university managers. During his suspension, Dr Edward Nector Mwavu remained in acting capacity as the MUASA chairperson.
The staff commenced casting their votes at 9 a.m. to 1p.m. on Monday. The association has 1,500 members.
Byaruhanga, the Electoral Commission boss is deputized by Dr. Andrew Muganga from the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Frank Mature Mwebaze from College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Oscar Mugula from College of Education and External Studies (CEES) and Dr Rita Edopu from College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), as the Commission’s Secretary.