Members of the parliamentary committee on education and sports expressed their displeasure at the absence of the chairperson of the University Council
Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe along with other Makerere University officials were dismissed by the parliamentary committee on education and sports and asked to return with Lorna Magara, the chairperson of the University Council.
The officials had gone to present to the committee on issues to do with gender representation in the university’s leadership, which the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga raised last year.
Members of the committee said the issues that are taking place at the institution are to do with governance which required the presence of the Chairperson and expressed their displeasure at her absence.
“It is very disappointing that those we expected to be here are not present, this is a governance issue, where we would expect the chairperson of the governing council to be here, along with other stakeholders,” said Upper Madi County MP Isaac Etuka.
He emphasised the importance of the meeting saying it was a means through which they would come up with solutions for all the issues taking place at the university.
“Given what is ongoing at the university, we needed this meeting so much as one of the strategies to streamline and harmonise issues in the university,” Etuka said.
He proposed that the meeting be called off until the Makerere officials were ready to meet the committee with a proper team.
“This meeting was postponed per your request, and still, the chairperson is not present. If my colleagues say they can continue with this meeting, I will sit in the meeting but feel absent,” said Jonam County MP Emmanuel Ongiertho.
Palisa County MP and chairperson of the committee, Jacob Opolot, also expressed his disappointment at Magara’s absence despite the meeting having been postponed a number of times.
“We have been pushing this meeting from last year to now, so when a letter is addressed to the council chairperson and she does not come, moreover to her maiden meeting with the committee, we do not take it well,” Opolot said.
He said that the presence of officials like the human resource officer, one in charge of gender and the council chairperson are critical and not just the department heads that came along with the team.
“Apart from the one in charge of gender, human resource, I think you can leave the rest, because the issues that were raised by the Speaker were inequalities in gender representation, as far as appointments are concerned,”
Opolot adjourned the meeting to Wednesday at 10 am, saying the issues to do with universities are those the committee has always been interested in and committed to.
“We can still stretch our flexibility beyond today and say let’s have this meeting tomorrow at 10 am, and I want to believe that in that council, there is someone representing the ministry of education. That person has to be here,” he said.
Nawangwe explained that Magara was not present because she was invited to brief the education minister on the challenges that the university is currently facing.
“We were with her when we were supposed to be coming, but she was called. We apologise. We shall go back and re-organise our team according to your guidance,” he said.
The vice chancellor’s request for the committee to listen to the team’s submission and have a follow-up meeting was denied as the committee members insisted on their decision.