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Mak Convocation to mediate staff, management squabbles

The main building at Makerere.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University Convocation, a body that brings together former students and staff of Makerere University has intervened to resolve bickering between management and staff associations at the institution.

Convocation chairperson Dr Tanga Odoi says that he was compelled to summon executives of staff associations to discuss strategies for restoring sanity and bring to an end to continued victimization of staff by the university management.

The three staff associations which were engaged in the meeting held today unanimously resolved that there was an urgent need to hold an open, honest dialogue with the university managers if the current “war” was to be brought to an end. The associations include Makerere University Administrative Staff Association-MASA, Makerere University Academic Staff Association-MUASA and support staff under National Union of Educational Institutions – NUEI.

This follows a series of disagreements between the associations and the university administration headed by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. The animosity between the two entities peaked with the recent dismissal of senior members of academic staff, some of who were accused of insubordination, among others.

The shakeup also affected two staff association leaders, Bennet Magara and Joseph Kalema, the Chairperson and General Secretary of Makerere University Administrative Staff Association – MASA respectively.

Dr Tanga Odoi says the Makerere University management is creating an unnecessary crisis that could be resolved if the parties opted for dialogue.

During today’s meeting, Dr Tanga observes that while it is in the interest of institutional managers to have control over staff associations, their independence ought to be respected. He added that while he is not supposed to be involved in the management of university affairs, as a member of the University Council, he was not ready to keep quiet when injustices were practiced.

Joseph Musoke, the representative of the support staff on the Makerere University Council cites that some staff association leaders were co-opted by the university managers to spy on their colleagues, which has resulted into warnings, suspensions and dismissals.

Ruth Iteu Eyoku- a representative of Makerere Administrative Staff Association – MASA observes that members of staff live in constant fear of being sacked anytime they say something that contradicts the Vice Chancellor.

Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the chairperson of the Makerere Academic Staff Association – MUASA says the staffs want the university managers to respect the governing laws rather than acting as complainants, prosecutors and judges in a case of dismissed staff.

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