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Makerere University staff maintain strike

Makerere University

Makerere University

Academic staff at Makerere University have rejected calls by university management asking them to return to work. The staff jointly vowed not to return to work unless their suspended leaders are reinstated.  

The resolution was made during a joint general assembly held on Monday afternoon at the Makerere Main Hall where staff unanimously demanded respect of their associations and leaders. 

A fully packed assembly was attended by staff belonging to the Makerere Administrative Staff Association (Masa), Makerere University Academic Staff Association (Muasa) and the support staff under the National Union of Education Institutions.
The meeting was also attended by members of university management, who, had on Friday last week constituted themselves into a meeting of "concerned staff" and called off a strike. 
 
Makerere staff went on strike at the start of the semester following the suspension of Bennet Magara and Joseph Kalema; both leaders of Masa and Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the Muasa chairperson, for alleged misconduct and violation of the terms of their employment.
 
The staff demanded the immediate reinstatement of their colleagues, arguing that they were irregularly suspended. Prof John Jean Barya, a law don advised the members of staff not to resume work because similar scenarios, sometimes the negotiations can take even more than two years.  
 
"I want to give one simple advise. I want us to understand that we’re in this situation because we’re defending our own freedom to associate and to speak. Once we falter, you will never speak again." he said. 
 
Prof Edward Nector Mwavu, the Muasa vice chairperson speaking after the emergency general assembly said the staff want their staff leaders reinstated within three days before they can resume work.  

Diana Ahumuza from Law School urged staff colleagues not to return to work unless their association leaders are reinstated.  
 
"We are serious stakeholders, if we cannot fight for our rights, then what are we teaching students? At least let them reinstate the leaders then our leaders can be able to work on other resolutions. If they cannot do that, let us go home when they are done, we’ll open the university and teach. Why should we be so anxious to teach? We’re entitled to our salary whether we’re teaching or not because industrial action is a constitutional right." Ahumuza said. 

During the assembly, the staff invited the vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe who in his address to staff said he was ready to uphold dialogue and mutual respect for his colleagues in staff association. 

He appealed to staff to return to work saying that the institution was losing so much due to the strike. But his appeals were turned by staff who said they only want their leaders back.
© 2016 Observer Media Ltd