Today Tuesday 26th February, the committee on Education met with the joint staff associations of Makerere University; Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA), and National Union of Educational Institutions (NUEI) to present a statement on the issues affecting the University. The committee was chaired by Hon. Jacob Okurut the Chairperson of the Committee while the Makerere University Joint Staff Associations were led by Mr. Deus Nuhwizi Kamunyu.
Mr. Kamunyu elucidated the cause of the disputes among the staff associations in Makerere. In his explanation, he informed the committee that they resulted from a resolution of Joint General Assembly on 11th January 2019 to lay down tools on 18th January 2019. Kamunyu further informed the committee that the situation worsened when Mr. Deus Kamunyu, chairperson MUASA was suspended. The dispute was also generated by the following issues;
Poor management practices which intended to profiteer individuals leading into the proliferation of an insider trading machinery.
Development of a mercy system of administration where for example getting a job or any related decision requires one to approach and influential member of the council or management.
University staff members continue to suffer poor working conditions and the absence of active staff motivation strategies befitting of a 21st Century University.
Insufficient office space, and lack of basic office facilities and equipment to facilitate teaching and research which has resulted in majority buying themselves office chairs, tables, papers, computers, and laptops.
Hiked crack down on honest opinions and ganging in the University which is contrary to article 29 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
Unconstitutional changes in the Human Resource Manual, especially done to privilege particular staff members in a way which is against all the equal opportunities laws of the Republic of Uganda.
Targeted career freeze of staff members who are open-minded and critical to the system’s management malfunctions.
The trial of members of staff by Appointments Board without following lawfully established mechanisms for disciplining or disposing of staff as it is provided for in the Universities and other Institutions Act.
The increment in court cases due to lack of conflict resolution mechanisms and with management openly opting for litigation.
The biased Appointments Board, which is composed of persons that were openly accused of promoting unfairness and inequity in the past 4 years. Some of the members of the former council that were openly accused of unfairness and inequity were returned to the University through consistency shifting.
Reactions by the committee
The committee requested the Joint Staff Associations to mention names of the Board members accused of promoting unfairness and inequity in the University.
The committee asked the staff associations to lay all promises made to them by the Ministers and the President so that they aid in demanding for their implementation.
The committee recommended involvement of stakeholders on any attempt to resolve an issue the university including the procurement process.
The committee also recommended to the staff associations to erase politics from the University operations.
The committee appreciated the action of the staff associations of canceling the strike and committed to helping them settle the issues through dialogue.
The committee chair closed the meeting with a plea to the staff associations to always consider dialogue in the resolution of all the problems faced.