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Legal loopholes dent operations of Makerere

Attorney General Kiwanuka Kiryowa says there are many loopholes in the various legislations upon which Makerere university operates.

He said there are many contradictions, inconsistencies and conflict of interest in the various legal instruments that Makerere runs on. He, therefore, called for review of all of them; short of that, he warned, the university may have to suffer repeated mob justice.

Kiryowa was delivering a public lecture titled “A legal perspective on the role of governing councils in the management of higher education institutions”.

The lecture took place on February 9, 2022, at the Central Teaching Facility 2 auditorium, Makerere University and virtually through Zoom. It also streamed live on Makerere’s YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn channels.

This was the first of the monthly-to-be Makerere@100 lecture series; they will go on until October 2022, the climax of the centenary celebrations. The series will involve the invited university alumni, staff and former leaders speaking about various topics of their choice.

The event was chaired by Prof Christopher Mbazira, the principal of the school of Law, and moderated by Dr Sarah Ssali, the dean, school of Women and Gender Studies.

GUILTY BUT REINSTATED

He mentioned a case of a lecturer who pleaded guilty to a case of sexually harassing his student. The lecturer continues to move around the university and picks half his salary monthly, despite a decision of the Appointments Board and the University Council to dismiss him and despite his contract having expired in February 2021!

The Staff Appeals Tribunal ordered the university to reinstate him pending conclusion of the case. Kiryowa wondered how a person who pleaded guilty wants the case to be concluded, and why the conclusion is taking as long as indefinite.

Vice chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe said they had to follow the order of the tribunal since it’s a court, but he clarified that after expiry of the lecturer’s contract, he was dropped from the payroll.

ILLEGAL INSTITUTES

Kiryowa said Makerere University maintains institutes that are illegal, advising that they should be introduced to the Council and their presence regularized.

The vice chancellor named some of these institutions as the World Bank Centre in Crop Improvement, the World Bank Centre in Energy, and the Centre in Microbiology, among others.

The university struggles with debts arising from legal suits, Kiryowa said. Nawangwe admitted that the debts the university owes to lawyers who defend it are, alone, above Shs 2 billion. He in fact asked the attorney general why Makerere is not defended by the attorney general yet it is a public institution.

Kiryowa answered that his chambers will defend Makerere if and when it asks for that service; he, however, warned that individuals who make negligent and or wasteful decisions will have to be appended to the case and bear the accruing responsibility.

EMINENT SERVICE RECOGNITION

Meanwhile, the university recognized Kiryowa and Doreen Nyanjura for their distinguished service to the University Council.

Council chairperson Lorna Magara handed over awards to them, in presence of Nawangwe. Kiryowa served on council from December 2018 to October 2021, while Nyanjura served from July 2016 to October 2021.

jmusinguzi@observer.ug

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