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Whistleblower pokes holes into recruitment process of new college principals at Makerere, wants search committee disbanded

Makerere University Vice Chancellor

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Nawangwe (PHOTO/Courtesy).

KAMPALA —A whistleblower has called for a government investigation into what he describes as a sham to the process followed by the Makerere University leadership to elect new principals and deputy principals of certain colleges.

On January 10, 2022, Makerere University senate approved the appointment of new leaders to fill the positions of Principal and Deputy Principal for College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES); College of Education and External Studies (CEES); College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB); College of Natural Sciences (CONAS); College of Computing and Information Sciences (COCIS) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS).

Some of the new appointees are Assoc. Prof. Ireeta Tumps and Frank Mwiine.

According to the whistleblower, the search process was full of irregularities. The whistleblower says that the search committee was irregularly formed and is comprised of people not fit for the purpose.

The committee members are Rt. Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega, John Chris Ninsiima – Chairperson, Dr. Edward Kitoogo Fredrick, Jolly Uzamukunda, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala,Jude Mbabali and Doreen Nyanjura.

But according to the whistleblower, this team is not competent enough to conduct interviews for people seeking to hold such senior positions.

“Other than being Council members, the search committee was comprised of members with little or no competence, knowledge or experience to interview candidates for positions such as Principal and Deputy Principal of a College of Makerere University. Their motivation to engage in such a process is to obtain an avenue to earn some allowances and solicit bribes from candidates,” the whistle blower’s report reads in part.

According to the whistleblower, the search committee report had glaring contradictions.

“It is stated on Page 3 of the Search Committee Report that the search committee developed an advert for the positions of Principal and Deputy Principal. Contradictions On page 22 of the same report, the search committee observed the challenges they faced i.e. The advert was not specific enough in regard to some parameters such as evidence of their academic rank, managerial experiences, proof of citizenship, and age among others,” the report reads.

“From the above, it’s abundantly clear that Makerere University has gone to the gutters. A Search Committee which cannot define parameters with clear job requirements, comprised of pedestrians, is unlikely to produce good quality results,” it adds.

The whistleblower also states that on the scoring criteria, the Search Committee Report states that face-to-face interviews would contribute 60% and Public Presentation would contribute 40% of the final score.

“On page 20 while computing Marks out of 40%, Dr. Nicholas Itaaga was awarded 41.777% out of 40%. ii. Scorer A5 (presumably the fifth scorer) should have his/her marks canceled since all the rest of the candidates were scored by four people, A1, A2, A3 and A4. Was A5 meant to give Prof. Frank Mwiine an unfair advantage by awarding him 91%,” the report.

The petitioner also questions the outcome of the process, saying it is suspicious and illogical for inexperienced and junior lecturers to emerge victorious at the expense of the senior ones.

“Assoc. Prof. Ireeta Tumps; the most junior, inexperienced in management because he is just in his first term as Head of Department – a department with only 11 people, has never been Dean therefore, has never been a Dean, has never held any other managerial position is warded marks to beat his “Seniors,”” the report reads in part.

“Ireeta Tumps’ performance is a miracle and an irrationality. Ireeta Tumps was scored highly than his seniors who possess all the experience to a level of Deputy Principal. Put another way, with Dr. Fredrick Jonas Muyodi and Prof. John Mango Magero competing, Ireeta Tumps would not have been short listed,” it adds.

The whistleblower says the search committee report did not consider the subject of conflict of interest.

“The report is very silent on conflict of interest. The silence on sitting Council Members being searched is unmatched. Impunity rules over professionalism, Ireeta Tumps and Frank Mwiine are sitting council members. Ordinarily these guys should have resigned from Council in order to compete for Management Positions such as Principal,” the report reads.

“The Search Committee Members are persons they sit with in Council all the time, and the report is silent on this matter. It is total conflict of interest. Was Council searching itself? Are they going to sit in Council and approve themselves? b) Ireeta Tumps is God father to Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala’s children. This conflict of interest was not declared. Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala’s scored Ireeta without declaring their relationship,” the report adds.

The whistleblower also accuses the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe; the Chairman of the University Appointments Board, Bruce Kabaasa Balaba; Thomas Tayebwa, and Yusuf Kiranda, the University Secretary, for running down the university by appointing people who dance to their tunes.

“They have thrown professionalism out of Makerere University and substituted it with politics, merit no longer counts at the once powerful University,” the report states.

The whistleblower has asked the university council to disband the search process.

“Council should disband this sham search process and constitute a Search Committee comprised of eminent persons who understand issues of Constituent Colleges of a University, not pedestrians like Doreen Nyanjura, John Chris Ninsiima as well as Council members searching their colleagues such as Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala,” the whistle blower states.

“Makerere University Staff/Community should wakeup, use all means at their disposal and fight Mr. Kabaasa Balaba Bruce and Nawangwe out of Makerere University,” he adds.

We have contacted Makerere University and the implicated individuals for comments

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