MAKERERE – The Makerere University Academic Staff Association Chairman Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi has run to the staff e-mail listing to report harassment and intimidation by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
This was after the VC issued Dr. Kamunyu with a June 12 warning letter for his stance on university management matters including illegal appointments and land grabbing among others.
Dr. Kamunyu, in an e-mail circulated to all staff on Tuesday reported Prof. Nawangwe’s letter, addresed to him not as Muasa Chairman but as a lecturer in the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism at the University was not surprising because he had received prior waning that management planned to clamp down on the staff association leadership to kill its zeal in inquiring into the university affairs.
“Colleagues, it’s now official that we are being intimidated by Management to stop our quest for the restoration of systems and accountability for resources,” Dr Kamunyu wrote, vowing that the association will not waver in asking some questions.
“We will remain strong in our mandates because those who read industrial relations literature know very well that it’s never easy. We will discuss this letter in our Executive meeting on Friday and evaluate the intention,” Dr Kamunyu wrote, adding he had forwarded letter to his lawyers for advice.
Prof. Nawangwe in his letter accused Dr. Kamunyu of making “unsubstantiated allegations” in the media and on the university e-mailing system against officers and organs of the university intended to create bad publicity of the institution and officers in the management.
The VC cited that Dr. Kamunyu made allegations” key among them — illegal appointments by the board, illegal amending of the Human Resources manual by the Council, internal land grabbing among others.
“These un-substantiated allegations coming from coming from a person with responsibility in the university are damaging not only to the individual officers but to the image of the Makerere University,” the VC wrote.
“This is therefore to require you to desisit from making such allegations … failure to abide by this directive will leave me with no alternative but to forward you to the University Appointments Board for further handling,” the VC wrote.
Dr Kamunyu says he was surprised that instead of the VC making directives that effect solutions into the malfunctions of the University, he has chosen the path of intimidation.
The basis of this letter is to intimidate me. We have noted that anyone who talks about impunity openly in this threatens those who practice it,” Dr Kamunyu replied.
“Once again Colleagues, I will continue to be steady fast in my role to struggle for your welfare, against corruption and impunity in our employment systems and our financial systems. I had hoped that the Vice Chancellor would be a partner in this and i still have hope,” Dr. Kamunyu wrote.
Early this year, Prof. Nawangwe warned that the institution was considering punitive sanctions against staff who give “false information” to the media which he said was hurting the Makerere’s international image.
This comes after media critical reporting on several reforms that he has initiated since taking over the university management in September last year.
The controversy over reforms stems from arguments that they were introduced without consulting Muasa leadership as the primary stake holders but the University claims they conducted the consultations before implementing the many reforms at the institution.