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Lawyer protests suspension of Mak Staff Association Leaders

Nawangwe decision challenged

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Centre for Legal Aid lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde, has protested the suspension of Bennet Magara and Joseph Kalema, the Chairperson and General Secretary of Makerere University Administrative Staff Association – MASA respectively.

The leaders were suspended in December for allegedly inciting staff to disrupt university Activities.

Ssemakadde says that the suspension of the leaders is in contravention of the Employment Act that protects an employee from indefinite suspension pending inquiry.

“Your actions further violate Article 29(1) (a) of the 1995 constitution which guarantees ‘freedom of speech and expression’ and sections 75(g) of the 2006 Employment Act which prohibits the imposition of a disciplinary penalty against an employee for his or her ‘political opinion’,” Ssemakadde says.

In the duo’s suspension letters, Prof. Nawangwe says that security reports had shown that they were inciting staff members to disrupt university activities and that they had refused to heed to his advice and caution to desist from such acts.

Ssemakadde, however, says after reviewing the correspondences, the Vice Chancellor’s actions to slap an indefinite suspension to the two staffs were unreasonable.

“Your quarrel with our clients arises from their activities and opinions as MASA leaders. It has nothing to do with any of our clients’ failure to apply themselves properly to their respective duties in the university service,” Ssemakadde.

Prof. Nawangwe has in the past been warned to cease and desist from victimization of staff.

According to an 82-page petition to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, disciplinary process and subsequent dismissal of staff are done without due regard for right to a fair hearing and adherence to the rules of natural justice.

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