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Mak staff accuse Nawangwe of being conflicted in Kanakulya case

Mak VC, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.-min

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has insisted he wants to know the steps followed to release a report implicating Dr Dickson Kanakulya for hiring a student to teach on his behalf.   

Dr Kanakulya, a lecturer of Philosophy and Human Rights at Makerere University was found in breach of university academic rules after he assigned a student to teach colleagues for an entire month.   

The matter came to the limelight when three Bachelor of Ethics and Human Rights students petitioned the Dean of the School of Liberals and Performing Arts, Professor Patrick Mangeni Wa’Ndeda on April 25, 2019, complaining about the teaching and assessment of Critical Thinking, a course unit taught during Semester one of the 2018/2019 academic years.  

As a result, a 6-member probe team led by Associate Prof Julius Kikooma from the School of Psychology was established and later discovered that the lecturer hadn’t taught more than five lectures to the day class for the entire semester. This was far below the recommended 45 lecture hours required under the semester system.

The probe team referred the lecturer to the University Appointments Board for disciplinary action for alleged breach of the university rules, regulations and procedures.   In their report, the team established that lectures to the day class were instead delivered by an evening student Irene Nakibirige for about one month.  

Sources say the central administration had had the report for nearly three weeks without action until it leaked in the press.  

URN has established that following the release of the report, the Vice-Chancellor wrote comprehensive letters seeking explanations from Professor Patrick Mangeni Wa’Ndeda and Dr Kasozi F. Mutaawe, the head of Philosophy Department.  A source who has seen these letters told URN that the Vice-Chancellor has accused the dean of leaking the report to the public.   

Professor Nawangwe insists that the report was not clear and wants detailed explanations from the heads of units to be able to take action.     

Professor Nawangwe further told URN that the central administration will not take action on the lecturer unless they get the procedures followed by the probe.  He further indicates that the university has previously been challenged by the courts of law and the Staff Appeals Tribunal due to procedural improprieties and that they don’t want to take chances on the Kanakulya case.     

However, another source who preferred anonymity said the whole issue surrounding the Vice Chancellor’s inquiry is to fault the Dean of the School of Liberals and Performing Arts on the procedure, as a poor manager, a pretext to widen the investigation.   

The source added that there could be wider interests aimed at derailing specific interests, holding the dean responsible in managing the school and failing to ensure quality assurance of the programmes.    

Female staff in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, however, expressed disgust about the way the issues surrounding Dr Kanakulya were being handled specially by the Vice-Chancellor.   

“The saddest part is that we are not looking at the plight of the students who complained in the first place and their fate. But from what we see as staff, the Vice-Chancellor seems to be bent on diverting the justice systems and implicate the Dean than the actual staff who was caught on the wrong side of the law,” she told URN.    

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URN

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