Nawangwe dismisses Makerere staff strike as illegal

By Cecilia Okoth

The strike started after various lecturers including the top leaders of MUASA and MASA were suspended

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The row between three Makerere University staff associations and the university's management has continued to escalate.

Whereas the members of staff at a general assembly on Monday unanimously agreed to give management up to Friday this week to fulfil their demands, in a new communique by the university vice-chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, he has dismissed their industrial action as illegal.

The staff at their assembly resolved that all lectures be dismissed and all offices stay closed until management makes a clear pronouncement on reinstating their suspended leaders.

However, a circular written and distributed to the university community by Nawangwe, stated that the move by the staff was misleading because neither University Council nor management had received an official notice of their industrial action as required by law. 

tudents attending lectures at chool of ocial cience esearch and thics on onday after the niversity ouncil called the striking staff to return to work hoto by amadhan bbeyStudents attending lectures at School of Social Science, Research and Ethics on Monday after the University Council called the striking staff to return to work. Photo by Ramadhan Abbey

"A section of the members of staff met in the university main hall and made pronouncements about the continuation of their purported industrial action. This is made at a time when 85% of the university has returned to normalcy and business is running according to schedule in most colleges except in the School of Law," Nawangwe said.

"All staff, who are carrying on with their official business are encouraged to continue doing so without intimidation and those (staff) who have not resumed duties are hereby directed to do so immediately," Nawangwe said, adding that management will not allow a situation of anarchy to continue while the students are suffering.

Nawangwe reiterated that the University Council and management will address any issues of concern to the staff as communicated earlier by the council's chairperson through legal avenues.

Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Makerere Administration Staff Association (MASA) and National Union of Educational Institutes (NUEI), Makerere Charter have been on strike for more than three weeks. 

he suspension of  chairperson eus amunyu was among the factors that sparked the strikeThe suspension of MUASA chairperson Deus Kamunyu was among the factors that sparked the strike.

The strike started after various lecturers including the top leaders of MUASA and MASA were suspended.

The affected persons are Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the MUASA chairperson, Bennet Magara and Joseph Kalema of MASA.

The university administration argues that they were suspended for misconduct, indiscipline and involvement in acts that breach the terms and conditions of their employment.

However, the staff have insisted that their members be reinstated first before they can resume work.

Prof. John-Jean Barya from the School of Law said they would respect the decision of MUASA and will not be intimidated as long as they are on the right course of the law.

"Some colleges may be having lectures but until MUASA reaches a memorandum of understanding with the university management we won't teach," he said.

Prof. Kakungulu Mayambala also from the School of Law said; "I cannot teach law in a seemingly lawless society because then I would be rendered useless."