By Innocent Anguyo and Moses Walubiri
The Attorney General (AG) has advised the Kyambogo University leadership to avail the institution’s former Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof. Isaiah Omolo Ndiege an opportunity to be reappointed.
In a legal opinion dated June 13, 2014, addressed to the Minister of Education and Sports, Jessica Alupo and copied to the Kyambogo, AG Peter Nyombi advised that the University leadership in considering Ndiege for re-appointment should first evaluate his past performance before considering to subject him to the rigors of a search process.
As such, the Attorney General advised that Ndiege should be given priority over other applicants, in the university’s search for a VC.
Interpreting provisions of Section 31 (3) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, Nyombi noted that:
“The holders of the office of the VC shall be eligible for re-appointment for a second term of four years after the first four years have expired, unless he/she is indicted and found liable under the provisions of S.55 (1) of the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act for misconduct or inability to perform.”
In the absence of such an indictment, Nyombi said “the incumbent VC can only be subjected to a formal assessment reviewing the candidate’s past professional performance, activities and achievements, and analysis of his or her contributions.”
“Where the assessment finds merit in his performance, leading to the likely renewal of the appointment contract, the VC becomes and should be eligible for re-appointment for one more term subject to his expression of interest,” explained Nyombi.
“It is therefore my considered opinion, that the VC should be assessed for his past performance before other applicants are considered. It is only if the search committee and indeed the Senate find his past performance wanting that other applicants can be considered for the position.”
The above reappointment criterion notwithstanding, Nyombi further stated that the practice in Uganda, such as Gulu University, has been that the serving VCs are recommended to the Council for renewal of their term in office for another term.
On that background, Nyombi said Prof. Ndiege should equally be accorded the benefit of the practice of incumbent VCs being recommended to the Council for re-appointment.
Nyombi also quashed an earlier legal advice Kyambogo University Secretary Sam Akorimo sought from private advocates, on grounds that article 119 (4) (a) of the constitution gives the Attorney General mandate to give legal advice and services to government on any subject.
“The advice sought from private practitioners when the principal legal advisor is the Attorney general is therefore not binding and is of no consequence and should not have been relied on by the University Council,” said Nyombi.
Prof Ndiege’s term in office as the VC of Kyambogo University expired on January 12, 2014 and is eligible for re-appointment for one more term.
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