PIC: IGG Irene Mulyagonja: "I think these matters are better handled by courts of law." (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)
NATIONAL - As the search for a substantive vice chancellor at Kyambogo University rages on, government ombudsman, Justice Irene Mulyagonja has declined to halt the process on the request of a petitioner alleging irregularities in the process.
Mulyagonja has advised whoever is aggrieved from the ongoing process of a search to seek redress in courts of law.
Citing section 31(3) of the Universities and Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 (as amended) which requires a search committee to forward three names of suitable candidates to the University Council, the petitioner, Scovia Kyokunda, says the search committee is flouting this provision.
In a letter to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) dated 15th June, 2015, Kyokunda avers that by the search committee only forwarding two names - prof. Elly Katunguka and Associate prof. Bakunda, the provisions in the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act are being flouted.
"It goes without saying that the process is already flawed, irregular and illegal and cannot and must not be allowed to continue to the end and generate unnecessary litigation which can be avoided through the intervention of government agencies like IGG," Kyokunda noted.
When asked by New Vision whether she was in receipt of Kyokunda's letter, Mulyagonja answered in the affirmative, but quickly ruled out exercising her discretion to halt the process.
"I think these matters are better handled by courts of law. For long, we have carried out a lot of investigations at Kyambogo University. Some people might actually think we have personal vendettas against some individuals," Mulyagonja, when asked whether she will exercise her discretion and halt the process, told New Vision Wednesday.
Under the inspectorate of government Act, the ombudsman has powers to halt a process if its marred with irregularities, or to conduct an investigation.
On Tuesday, a Kyambogo university official told New Vision that effort to install a substantive vice chancellor had hit a snag over the decision by the search committee to produce two names to the University Council instead of three as stipulated in the law.
Sources privy to the process contend that initially, five candidates were shortlisted for the coveted office, but only two - Katunguka and Bakunda, were deemed eligible.
Those dropped by the search committee include prof. Aaron Wanyama, prof. George Byaruhanga and prof. Charles Twesigye from the biological department.
Kyambogo's University Senate is toying with the idea of re-advertising the position of vice chancellor in order to get the third suitable candidate as required legal provision of the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act.
Three years ago, Kyambogo University was involved in costly litigation over the manner in which prof. Isaiah Ndiegi was relied of vice chancellor docket.