Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University Council has rejected calls by management to expeditiously approve the Board of Directors for the university’s Holdings Company and Endowment Fund. In August this year, Makerere University management requested the Council Chairperson, Lorna Magara to approve nominees for the post of directors before they are presented to the university council for ratification, a request she flatly rejected.
Magara attributes the delayed approval of the nominees to absence of annual reports of the activities of both units for the previous years. “We are waiting to receive their annual reports. A decision will be taken after receiving their annual report,” she told URN in an interview. In 2014, the University Council established Makerere University Endowment Fund (MUEF) to mobilise and invest financial resources on behalf of the university.
The same year, council also established Makerere University Holdings Limited (Mak Holdings) to manage the university’s commercial interests and diversify it sources of income through business. While appearing before the council at its 147th meeting held on August 7th and 8th, the vice chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe informed the members that the term of office of the current Board of Directors for the Fund and Mak Holdings was coming to an end effective August 31st 2019.
Subsequently, the university management undertook a process of vetting various candidates for recommendation to council for appointment. Those vetted include the Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, who was preferred to be the next chairperson of the Fund. Other nominated as Board of Directors by management included Martin Owiny, Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Hajjat Aisha Lubega and former Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA ED, Jenifer Ssemakula Musisi.
Also pending approval are the Board of Directors for the Holdings Company whose term of office expired on August 31st, 2019. They include MTN Board Chairperson, Charles Mbire nominated to chair the holdings company. The other nominated members are former council chairperson, Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem, Ruth Biyinzika Musoke, Dr. Zahara Nampewo, Professor William Bazeyo, Dr. Goretti Nabanoga and Dan Kasirye.
“Management further agreed to request the Chairperson of Council to approve the appointment of the above-named persons to the board on behalf of council to avoid a leadership vacuum,” Yusuf Kiranda, the acting university secretary wrote on behalf of management on August 27, 2019.
The new members of the Fund are expected to serve for a four-year term. However, the Magara-led university council insists that it will not approve the new nominees unless they receive annual reports from the out-going Board of Directors. URN has learnt from strategic sources within the university that the Fund hasn’t been performing well since it was established.
Even when the university has organised annual Mak runs to boost its finances, the performance has not been well, sources say. To verify these claims, URN has established that during the 3rd edition of the Makerere University Endowment Fund Run (MakRun) held this year, the university managed to raise a total of Shillings 101 million against an expenditure of shillings 86 million, hence a net gain of Shillings 15 million.
The university holds two Endowment Fund accounts. These include an offshore account and a local account. An analysis of the quarterly reports about the Fund performance indicates that while the local account registered a 3.7% increase from shillings. 501.12 million as at September 30th, 2018 to shillings 684.52 million by 3rd June 2019, the offshore Fund registered a one percent (1%) decease from 1,350,794 British pound sterling (approximately Shillings 6.42b) to 1,343,828 British pound sterling (approximately Shillings 6.39b) for the same period.
But the Head of Publicity Makerere University Convocation, Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi is hopeful that the fund can perform better if well mobilized. “The Endowment Fund has a bright future if well organized and preceded by projects that create confidence among stakeholders,” Kamunyu intimated to URN.