MUASA disassociates itself from fundraising, Besigye responds
The Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) has distanced itself from political activities said to support their lecturers’ cause.
This follows a foiled fundraising campaign by former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye and the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) that was scheduled to take place at the university’s Freedom Square on Friday. Besigye was organising the fundraise to solicit funds from the public so as to raise the Shs28billion to pay lecturers arrears.
Addressing a press conference at Makerere University Guest House on Saturday evening, chairperson of MUASA Dr. Mohammad Kiggundu Musoke said the association did not endorse the Besigye fundraising activity, describing it as trivializing their cause and portraying them negatively before the public.
“We want to state categorically that as MUASA, we disassociate ourselves from political activities. The issues that led to our strike are well laid before the university council,” said Kiggundu.
Kiggundu said the acts of soliciting for funds from the public is like offering them fish without teaching them how to fish.
“We therefore continue to call upon the university council to expeditiously find an amicable solution to resolve the impasse,” said Kiggundu.
However, in his response to MUASA’s remarks on his official twitter account, Besigye said Makerere is a public university and hence no permission was needed to act.
Makerere is our (public)university. Cncl & govt failed to pay hence strike. No permission needed to act! @Rwakakamba https://t.co/9mMrQ0VH7e
— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) December 3, 2016
The MUASA Public relations officer Dr. Deus Kamunyu noted with concern that some some politicians had made careless statements that have hurt their image and undermined them before the public and advised them to stop.
“We want to reiterate that the causes of MUASA are geared towards our welfare and achieving a functional university. We therefore want politicians to concentrate on finding lasting solutions to the frequent strikes instead of politicizing, trivializing and manipulating the victims – staff and students,” said Kamunyu.
Kamunyu stated that in doing so, the politicians continue to undermine the fact that their welfare is key in the service of the nation, its children and citizens.
Kamunyu lashed out at members of parliament, many of them alma mater of Makerere University, whom he said can move a motion on the floor of the house to help the university function properly.
The said MPs led by former Makerere Guild president and Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga formed a campaign called Friends of Makerere through which they are seeking to raise over sh28billion.
Kamunyu reiterated that though Makerere University’s problems require both structural and monetary support at the moment, this support has to be channeled through the appropriate institutions in a systematic manner and in line with the desires of those who value its functions and its legacy.
“If this nation’s premier university is to meaningfully settle once and for all for the benefit of our students, their parents and the staff who serve it, politicians of all divide must work together,” said Kamunyu.
Kamunyu also expressed concern over the failure of the university to pay them their November salaries on the advice of Council Chairman, Eng. Charles Wanna Etyem.
“This move signifies consistent manipulation and arm twisting by our own leaders. We urge council to pay our government salary. Our dispute is meritorious and we should not be treated as if we were terminated at closure,” noted Kamunyu.