By David Lumu
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) officials have said that Uganda will not lose a thing due to the resignation of Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) chairman Fagil Mandy last week.
Weighing in on the confusion inside UNEB, John Kikoyongo, a member of the FDC publicity team has said that Mandy had literally “hijacked” the exam body and that “his voice and name is the only thing you would hear coming from UNEB.”
“All other board members were nowhere to be heard, as they had been told to shut up. Everything was confusing. Although his resignation is a nice thing, the country will not lose anything like he says. It also shows that there is some rot in UNEB, which government is hiding from us,” he said.
Mandy resigned after President Museveni bypassed the exam board chaired by Fagil and renewed executive secretary Mathew Bukenya’s contract.
The two have been at logger heads ever since Bukenya’s contract expired on April 17. He said it was wrong for the education minister and the President to bypass the board and renew Bukenya’s contract
“We must learn to respect the existing structures and learn to follow protocols in place. If it is someone’s time to go, let him go. When will the youth get jobs if you are retaining people who are over age in office?” Mandy said.
He added that his resignation takes immediate effect. “I have no office to hand over, neither do I have staff,” he said.
Mandy said UNEB would continue with or without him but that the country would lose. Alupo confirmed that she had received Mandy’s resignation letter.
“I received a letter from the Minister of Education and Sports, Jessica Alupo, directing me on what to do. I have also written back to the minister telling her I cannot continue working under these conditions,” he said shortly after tendering in his resignation letter to Alupo.
Bukenya has been at the helm of the examination body for 16 years. His contract expired last year but was extended for one year pending recruitment of his replacement.
However, the process of selecting Bukenya’s successor was riddled with claims of unfairness, leading to the intervention of the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Irene Mulyagonja.
Mandy was accused of favouring John Bosco Ntangaare, who scored 76.6%. He was also accused of interfering with the selection process.
On January 15, the IGG wrote to the education ministry detailing complaints from a whistle-blower about the way Mandy conducted the recruitment for the person to replace Bukenya as UNEB executive secretary.
Mulyagonja also halted the recruitment process and recommended for removal of Mandy from UNEB.
But Mandy called a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre and said that: “If I am requested to step down, I will leave. UNEB will continue with or without Fagil Mandy. There is nothing personal, but the country will lose.”