Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | City lawyer Henry Rwaganika has expressed disappointment at Makerere University for continued disrespect of decisions made by Courts of Law.
Rwaganika, a senior advocate with Rwaganika & Baku advocates described the conduct of the university authorities as “impunity per excellence at its best.”
He argues that university authorities look at court pronouncements as mere pieces of paper and have chosen to ignore the decisions.
Rwaganika’s comments follow the alleged failure by the university management to respect the orders and ruling of the Staff Appeals Tribunal in which Elias Nuwagaba, the former personal assistant (PA) to the Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe was reinstated in April but remains out of office.
“The decisions which were taken in mid-April directing that the workers be returned to office because they had been illegally and wrongly dismissed they are still out there left in the cold. They have decided to ignore the judgements and only to apply the orders according to their choice selectively that is,” Rwaganika observes.
On April 16, 2019, the Staff Appeals Tribunal headed by George Omunyokol made pronouncements on more than 11 cases it found the university Appointments Board at fault.
In the cases, for instance, the Tribunal found that Nuwagaba was dismissed without any fair hearing and ordered for his reinstatement, payment of his salary benefits arrears arising out of his dismissal since May 2018.
The tribunal had also ordered that he continues occupying the university house until the matter is disposed of.
But Rwaganika contends that none of the orders have been respected.
He says university managers at Makerere are showing a bad example to the young people who aspire to live in a society that respects the rule of law and good governance.
“Whatever the university management is doing is simply anarchy, impunity and should not be tolerated. It needs the authorities responsible for justice, the authorities in the political arena responsible for education to extend their arm and clamp down on the excess and impunity which is going to ruin the future of this country,” advocate Rwaganika says.
According to Rwaganika, Makerere’s stature with a prominent school of law where majority of the country’s legal practitioners have trained should not be the one to be in contempt of court.
He says other universities and public institutions are likely to emulate the bad example of Makerere’s contempt of court orders.
Last month, city lawyer Anthony Wameli filed an application seeking to hold Makerere University top officials in contempt of court for refusing to conduct a fresh search process for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor- Finance and Administration.
This was in lieu of a decision by High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana in which the appointment of Prof William Bazeyo was nullified on account of irregular recruitment. This was in response to a challenge by Anthony Mugisha, a Professor of Veterinary Sciences & Socio-economics.
But hardly a week after the court quashed the appointment, Prof Bazeyo, took up office in an acting capacity on the appointment of the Chancellor, Professor Ezra Suruma, an appointment that the lawyer described as contempt of court.