Makerere deputy VC removed from university WhatsApp groups

Summary:

  • Officials at Makerere University only found out Prof Umar Kakumba was no longer their first deputy vice chancellor after his “unceremonious” removal from the institution’s leadership WhatsApp group.

Trails of WhatsApp messages we have seen shows officials in confusion, wondering what was going on because they had not heard from Dr Kakumba.

Kakumba, the deputy vice chancellor for academic affairs, was on Friday removed from the ‘Mak Academic Leaders’ WhatsApp group by Winston Tumps Ireeta, an associate professor of physics, without notice.

Trails of WhatsApp messages the Nile Post has seen shows officials at Uganda’s premier institution of learning in confusion, wondering what was going on because they had not heard from Dr Kakumba.

As officials at the Hill were still trying to put a head to tail, Deputy Registrar Patience Mushengyezi Rubabinda removed Dr Kakumba from the ‘Mak Senate Members’ group as well.

“As Kakumba was removed, one number was added and it seems to belong to Dr David Luyombya, an Associate Professor of Records and Archives Management and Head of the Department of Records and Archives Management in the East African School of Library and Information Science,” a message shared by one of the top dons at Makerere say.

The Nile Post contacted Dr Kakumba about the whirlwind events at the university but he had not responded more than 24 hours later.

“I believe that if Prof Kakumba was told that you are no longer DVC (AA), himself would have written a message on the WhatsApp groups his position subscribes to and told them bye-bye just like others whose terms end do,” another official said.

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“As I understand it, seven months ago, he applied for evaluation and reappointment in line with UOTIA [the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act].

“The only answer he has now is removal from Leaders WhatsApp group, removal from Senate WhatsApp group and perhaps removal from Management WhatsApp groups. Is this a vulgarised system we want to see at Makerere University?”

Dr Umar Kakumba has been removed from his position as Makerere University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs,

But Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the university vice chancellor, said in a brief message that “these are normal” when this reporter inquired into the stormy text messages the university officials were exchanging on Saturday.

“His contract ended and he is aware,” he added.

Prof Nawangwe’s responses are usually brief, touching on only what he wishes to communicate and he noticeably avoided commenting on whether Dr Luyombya had stepped up to replace Kakumba as acting deputy vice chancellor.

The exit of Dr Kakumba potentially means Makerere University has no single deputy vice chancellor.

The second deputy vice chancellor position remains vacant with a recommendation for a substantive appointment still in the pending tray of the University Council.

Potentially, it leaves Prof Nawangwe as acting Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, as his own deputy for academic affairs and again as his own deputy for finance and administration.

Four jobs.

Sources say the inc0ming first deputy vice chancellor will be one positioned to take over as vice chancellor when Nawangwe’s term of office expires in 2027.

Meanwhile, Dr Ireeta appears to have walked into the crosshairs of the notorious academic staff association, Muasa, for his role in the ‘removal’ of Kakumba from the WhatsApp group.

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The principal of the College of Natural Sciences, Ireeta, is said to be bright and hardworking with great commitment to Makerere but much hated for rising on the clutches Muasa held for him only to kick them in the groin after reaching the Council.

This, Makerere dons say, all happened because their former Muasa welfare officer, has decided to serve the “unpopular things we stand for”.

Dr Ireeta lost his seat on the Council at the last election after Muasa deemed he no longer served their interest.

“How he ended up as the one to pull Kakumba out of that academic leaders’ WhatsApp group, I don’t know. But there are always people like that,” an official said.

Dr Ireeta sounded unfazed when contacted about these allegations and the apparent baying for his blood by a group he served in the recent past.

“It’s okay,” he said simply.

Additional source: The Nile Post

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