Members of Parliament yesterday urged Makerere University administration to amicably resolve the stand-off with staff so that the university normal programmes can resume.
The MPs on the Committee on Education and Sports met Makerere University Management and Council today, Thursday 14 February 2019, encouraged the university leadership to be more flexible and use dialogue in trying to resolve the strike at the institution.
The meeting followed the decision by the University management led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, to suspend Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the Chairperson Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) and others including Bennet Magara, the Chairperson Makerere Administrative Staff Association and his General Secretary, Joseph Kalema.
The Committee chaired by Jacob Opolot (Ind., Pallisa) gave the administration two weeks to resolve the controversy at the university.
Hon. Margaret Rwabushaija (Ind., Workers) said the Constitution allows people to demonstrate peacefully which is what was happening before some of the individuals were suspended. She observed that the university leadership was running the institution like a dictatorship.
“There must be dialogue always and you cannot lock out people just because they disagree with you; people are entitled to their own views,” she said adding that “Dismissing someone who is a leader of an association representing a trade union should be done only when all the avenues of dialogue have been exhausted.”
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (DP, Kalungu West) said that there is an intention to suppress the labour unions which he said will manifest negatively on the institution.
“Lecturers might be forced to go back to class but they may not be teaching if they are unhappy; there will be no passion in execution of one’s duties,” he said.
Committee Chairperson, Jacob Opolot noted the administration needed to admit the reality that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
“There has been a paradigm shift at the University where the situation has gone from cordial to a reign of terror between superiors and subordinates,” he said.
He said that both the university leadership and staff should without undermining the integrity of the authority engage in dialogue involving all stakeholders.
Prof. Nawangwe said that the right legal procedures were followed in suspending the staff.
“All these cases of suspension in particular the 45 cases arose out of the decision of the Appointments Board and they were given a fair hearing,” he said adding that indiscipline had deteriorated with refusal to attend lectures, mark exam papers and physical assault among others.
“Deus Kamunyu insulted, intimidated, abused and undermined university officials and the leadership. He also continues to incite staff to disrupt the activities of the university,” Nawangwe added.