Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | The Makerere University College of Humanities and Social Sciences has directed a senior lecturer in the department of social work and social administration Dr.Swizen Kyomuhendo to formally respond to accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment of female students.
This comes in light of a story run on NBS television Monday night which specifically highlights Dr. Kyomuhendo allegedly trying to sexually harass a final year student in exchange for marks. Kyomuhendo was exposed by a former student of Social work and social administration, ‘Eunice’ (Not real name)
According to a letter written by the acting Principle of the College Professor Josephine Ahikire on Tuesday, the directive comes after reports implicating Dr. Kyomuhendo in sex for marks scandals. “Such acts contravene the Makerere University Human Resources manual (2009) and the university policy and regulations on sexual harassment (2006),” Dr Ahikire said.
The letter further reads that the allegations against the lecturer are urgent hence the response must be made not later than Thursday March 1, 2018.
According to the investigative report made by NBS’ Raymond Mujuni, ‘Eunice’ contacted the Kamwokya based station after Dr. Kyomuhendo persisted on meeting her outside the University premises if she wanted to have her name on the graduation list earlier this year.
NBS gave the student a secret camera that she went with to meet the lecturer in his faculty office where the discussion went personal as Dr. Kyomuhendo insisted he meet Eunice in a lodge next to the university, something which Eunice first played down but could do very little about since she wanted to graduate.
According to the recordings NBS aired, the two agreed and the student reached the lodge premises as directed by her lecturer with the NBS secret camera hidden on her collar. She called the lecturer asking that they meet at the reception but this played down by Dr. Kyomuhendo who insisted that they meet in his room.
After minutes of bargaining, the student agreed to meet the lecturer in his room and while there,the lecturer promised her on how he could help her graduate. ‘Eunice’ pretended to have an urgent need to go somewhere but promised to come back that evening something she never did.
Dr. Kyomuhendo holds doctor of philosophy in (social work and social administration) from Makerere university, a Master of arts in Social welfare policy, McMaster university, Canada; and a Bachelor of arts in Social work and social administration, Makerere university Kampala.
He is also a former spokesperson of Obundingha bwa Bwamba, a cultural institution in Bundibugyo district.
Visitation Committee report on sex allegations
Previously, The Visitation Committee on Makerere pointed out that incidents of sexual harassment and exploitation of female students mostly by lecturers was one of many causes of strikes at the country’s oldest university.
In the report, the committee stated that in its interaction with the students’ leadership during the investigations revealed that the lecturers are the top perpetrators of sexual harassment and exploitation of female students through intimidation and blackmail.
The report stated that lecturers sexually exploit female students by uncivil punishments such as confiscating their mobile phones or demanding that they present their course work in person at specified places, which exposes the learners to sexual harassment.
It added that lecturers often demand sex from the female students in exchange for marks which has become a common practice in some of the university’s constituent colleges. The committee observed that the vice has persisted at the university for many years.
The committee was appointed by Museveni in November 2016 to study the cause of persistent strikes and financial mischief at the university. It was chaired by the late Dr Abel Rwendeire.
In light of the allegations, the Makerere university convocation called for the implementation of the sexual harassment policy.
The convocation chairperson Dr. Tanga Odoi noted that the policy provides all avenues to deal with cases of sexual abuse at the university
Odoi has also advised all students to report such cases so that the perpetrators can be apprehended.