PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni is yet to appoint a chancellor for Makerere University after Prof. Apolo Nsibambiâ€™s term of office expired on October 23.
The university is currently facing a lot of financial pressure. Lecturers are grumbling over salary arrears while the administrative staff is demanding a pay rise. Electricity and the internet have twice been disconnected for non payment. The university management maintains it has no money to address the pressing financial needs.
Although government has intervened and given Makerere sh5.2b, the university officials are saying this will only ease the pressure for the next two months.
Consequently, Makerere needs a chancellor because he or she is seen as a link between the university and the government. In this case, Makerere urgently needs someone to start from where Prof. Nsibambi stopped.
According to the universities and other tertiary institutions act, a chancellor shall be appointed by the president on recommendation of the university council. The university council forwarded the names of two former deans at the university. Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, (Faculty of Medicine) and Prof. Mondo Kagonyera (Faculty of Veterinary Science). This was a clear message that they preferred somebody who understands the challenges Makerere is facing.
Nsibambi, the Prime minister and former dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, had prior knowledge of Makerereâ€™s problems. He negotiated for more funding as chancellor and at the same time, working for the government.
The amendment of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act in 2001, which led to the first non-head of state chancellor, has not been futile. Nsibambi has done a great job especially lobbying government to increase lecturersâ€™ salaries after a strike which led to the closure of the university.
Essentially, the chancellor is the titular head of the university and presides over graduation ceremonies and confers upon degrees and awards diplomas for the university. But the act also states that the chancellor shall, at any time, on the direction of the Visitor, cause a visitation of the university to be conducted by a person or persons and for purposes specified in the directive.
As suggested by the chairman of the convocation, Bruce Balaba, Makerere urgently needs a chancellor to guide and support management through these â€˜pressing financial challenges.â€™
But as Visitor to the public universities, Museveni should consider the recommendations made by the visitation committee which recommended a specialised audit into the utilisation of internally generated funds. This is likely to resolve some of the financial concerns at the university.
Makerere University needs a chancellor