Makerere Staff Criticize Prof Nawangwe for Suspending Deans’ Forum

Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.

Summary:

  • In a letter dated May 29, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, questioned the legality of the Deans’ Forum before suspending its activities.

Makerere University’s joint staff associations are calling for the reinstatement of the Deans’ Forum, whose operations were halted last month by Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. The Makerere University Deans’ Forum (MUDF) aimed to foster academic excellence through collective efforts, capacity building, and sharing best practices.

In his May 29 letter to Prof. Umar Kakumba, the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Prof. Nawangwe expressed concerns over the forum’s legality, leading to its suspension. “I have received complaints regarding the legality of the Deans’ Forum. Pending resolution, all activities of the forum are hereby suspended,” the letter read.

On May 30, Prof. Kakumba informed the MUDF Chairperson, Deans, and other members about the Vice Chancellor’s decision. “The Vice Chancellor has directed that the activities of the forum be suspended, pending resolution on its legality,” Prof. Kakumba’s letter stated.

Formed after an inaugural meeting on June 14, 2019, MUDF is one of many informal associations at Makerere University. The staff associations argue that such groups are protected by Article 29 of the Constitution. They strongly oppose Prof. Nawangwe’s suspension of the Deans’ Forum, asserting that academic staff are entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence.

In a letter signed by Dr. Robert Kakuru, Mr. Bennet Magara, and Mr. Isaac Okello, the Joint Staff Association stated, “It is unconscionable that you suspended a forum of such noble membership over unspecified and uninvestigated complaints. Suspension should follow investigations, not precede them.”

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The aggrieved staff demand that Prof. Nawangwe rescind his suspension of the forum and respect the fundamental human rights and academic freedoms of the university community. They argue that lecturers and students need assurance that their freedom of association and conscience will not lead to conflicts with management.

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