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Makerere tribunal asks feuding lecturers to reconcile

By Cecilia Okoth

Added 18th September 2019 11:11 AM

Dr. John Mushomi is battling a four-year suspension for allegedly assaulting his colleague, Dr. Allen Kabagyenyi. They are both lecturers in the department of population studies.

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Suspended MUK lecturer John Mushomi (left) interacts with his lawyer Isaac Semakadde at Makerere on Tuesday. (Credit: New Vision)

Dr. John Mushomi is battling a four-year suspension for allegedly assaulting his colleague, Dr. Allen Kabagyenyi. They are both lecturers in the department of population studies.

ACADEMICS

KAMPALA -The Makerere University Staff Tribunal has recommended that reconciliation takes place between Dr John Mushomi, who is battling a four-year suspension for allegedly assaulting his colleague, Dr Allen Kabagyenyi.

Mushomi and Kabagyenyi are lecturers in the department of population studies. Mushomi was suspended by the Appointments Board on December 11, last year.

The tribunal chairperson, Justice Patrick Tabaro tasked the two members of the tribunal (Prof. Kakungulu Mayambala and Edith Kusasira), with talking talk to both parties to explore the possibility of reconciliation.

Tabaro said he wanted to get a status report on the matter within a week.  

The move, according to the tribunal, is in line with promoting harmonious labour relations at the institution of higher learning.

Other tribunal members are Prof Ben Twinomugisha, Dr Phiona Mpanga and Sarah Wegosasa.

Mushomi’s case had been adjourned thrice this year (February 28, March 7 and March 19) on the premise that no minutes had been forwarded by the appointments board to the staff tribunal at the time.

His lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde submitted that the then appointments board chairperson Bruce Kabaasa (whose term ended on December 19 last year) was inconsiderate and unfair to many employees.

He also argued that the Board had failed to record minutes properly and produce them promptly, adding that those that were eventually produced on Wednesday last week, were grossly defective.

 saac emakadde lawyer left interacting with his client rinaitwe erez former accountant akerere niversity on uesday  hoto by immy uta Lawyer Isaac Semakadde (left) interacting with his client, Arinaitwe Perez former accountant Makerere University, on Tuesday. (Photo by Jimmy Outa)

 

Why reconciliation?

Prof. Mayambala explained to New Vision that reconciliation is a requirement, depending on the decision of the tribunal.

“The tribunal can decide to have mediation or not. But should they fail to reconcile, then the case will have to continue,” he said.

The cardinal principle of labour justice also states that infringement of work discipline must first be dealt with informally through advice and reformation before they are escalated into formal procedures for disciplinary action.

Absenteeism 

The tribunal also heard a case of Perez Arinaitwe, another university staff who is battling charges of absenteeism and insubordination.

His lawyer Ssemakadde noted that when Arinaitwe (accountant) was transferred from Makerere Institute of Social Research to the office of the bursar, the acting bursar told him to wait for the substantive bursar to assign him.

But Arinaitwe was dumbfounded when the substantive bursar instead accused him of absenteeism and immediately commenced disciplinary action.

Arinaitwe was however denied the right to be represented by a lawyer.

Giving her submission, Naume Kiconco, the university lawyer, said Arinaitwe did not require a legal presentation, arguing that the sermons made were to him and not his lawyer.

Arinaitwe declined to appear before the Board, saying his lawyer was out of town.

But prosecution further argued that he could have appeared with any other person besides his lawyer.

On the contrary, the university summons, as well as the Employment Act, grants employees the freedom to be represented by lawyers.

Proceedings in Arinaitwe’s case also revealed that the complainant (the then University Bursar Augustine Tamale) who testified against him had since left service. It is against this that Ssemakadde argued that it would, therefore, be speculative to imagine that anybody in the department held bad blood against him (Arinaitwe).

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