Raymond Mujuni, a news reporter with NBS TV who conducted an investigation into the sex-for-marks vice at Makerere, has warned the university that if does not put up necessary measures to completely root out the habit, his team has enough evidence to publish more stories.
Speaking at a tweet chat in commemoration of the 16 Days Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence that was organised by The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) at the Telepresence Centre in Makerere University on Friday November 16, Mujuni revealed that ever since the first story was aired, they (the media) haven't withdrawn from the issue.
"We are giving the university a chance to reform and in as much as the speed is not as fast as we anticipated it to be, we recognize that there is some change" Mujuni said.
He revealed that they are watching the administration on steps being taken to address the vice as well as particular lecturers whose names came up after the first story was aired.
Mujuni said that they received close to 50 more complaints from students on lecturers that either abused or tried to abuse them dating as far back as 2004 and all this was after the story was aired.
Background of the case
According to Mujuni, when the student at the centre of controversy contacted him about the story, she was given two weeks by his media house to go back home and rethink her decision on whether she was really prepared for the expose´.
When after the said time, she returned with her mind made up, they knew it was time to take the bull by its horns. He alluded to an earlier encounter with the then vice chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu who was reluctant to address the matters when he brought it up to him saying "there was no substantial evidence to prove that there was a vice of sex-for-marks."
Nonetheless, he carried out the investigative report and organised his findings. By the time the report was ready, Prof Ddumba had since then left office and had been replaced by the new vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe - who was seemingly more practical towards curbing the vice.
"Before coming up with the story, the vice chancellor Prof Nawangwe had promised immediate suspension for any lecturer implicated and he held onto his part of the bargain" Mujuni further revealed.
The immediate suspension of the implicated lecturer was even announced on Prof Nawangwe's Twitter handle. The vice chancellor went on to constitute a committee of inquiry into the matter that was chaired by Law professor Sylvia Tamale.
The findings of the committee which were highly televised acknowledged that the vice was there, broadened it to cater for student-to-student sexual harassment as well and recommended among other things; properly working street lights to iron out dark spots and a central marking system that the university has since adopted.
Mujuni however, feels that is not enough. In as much as he appreciates the steps taken by the university in that direction, he believes there is more that can be done. He wants the power of lecturers over students to be trimmed.
"To have a Makerere degree is (to say the least) the equivalent of having a job and this explains the urge to do anything to attain it - including having sex for marks," he stressed.
According to him, there is a class of lecturers that bring a lot of donor funding to the university due to their scholarly research and have because of that attained an untouchable status at the hill. Consequently, when they realise their worth, they act recklessly and have since then gone unpunished.
He also hit at the students' guild leadership which he believes is doing more politics than looking out for students welfare - their primary role. The guild is in position to know every sort of harassment that takes place at the university and take necessary measures to reduce or eliminate the habit if they concentrated less on politics, according to Mujuni.
For their part, the university's gender mainstreaming directorate acknowledged the vice but highlighted the measures in place to curb them. And according to Eric Tumwesigye from the directorate, it will only be a matter of time until the vice is no more.
Tumwesigye revealed that they have embarked on sensitizing students and staff on the differences between a relationship and harassment. He stressed that their main talk point to root out the vice is that "you cannot hurt someone that you love".
He further revealed an app that they have established to eliminate physical reporting and avoid fears and stigma.
"Because of the culture, the boys and some females fear to come out against sexual harassment. We have put up measures of reporting without necessarily doing so physically" Tumwesigye said.
He further highlighted the new administration's "zero tolerance" to sexual harassment to prove how seriously they are taking the matters.
Tumwesigye said that with the introduction of the central marking system, the vice chancellor has made it clear that all Makerere University business must be conducted within the university.
The Tweet Chat was also attended by former Makerere guild president and National Female Youth MP Anna Adeke and Mercy Munduru the mrograms manager at FIDA - Uganda.