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Lawyer asks court to send Mak top officials to prison for contempt

FILE PHOTO: Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | City lawyer Anthony Wameli has 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.

The application is based on 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.

Now Wameli wants the court to issue a warrant of arrests against Prof. Suruma, the Vice-Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the University Council Chairperson Lorna Magara, and University Secretary Yusuf Kiranda and commit them to civil prison for contempt.

Wameli says he is not aware of any appeal filed by the university against the nullification which was announced on June 14, yet still, there is no signal for the commencement of a search.  Under civil appeal procedures, a person or institution is required to file an appeal within 30 days from the date of the ruling.

In an email sent to staff on June 20, a few days after the court ruling, Nawangwe, referred to the ruling as the “most unfortunate decision”. He added that given the significance of the office, and the lengthy period that the court will take in the appeal process, the Chancellor had directed Professor Bazeyo to revert to the same office

But Wameli says that the appointment is not only illegal but also irregular but also unfortunate.

The lawyers also questioned the appointment letter dated June 17, in which the chancellor directed Prof Bazeyo to occupy the office until the position is substantively filled. This Wameli says is influence peddling by the Chancellor.

Although the Chancellor’s directive was made on June 20, 2019, the lawyers are disturbed that the university Council’s special sitting that approved the appointment was held on July 5, 2019, almost three weeks after.

Wameli has advised Makerere to commence the search process as advised by the court.

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