Uganda: Makerere bosses to be quizzed over strikes today

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The Visitation Committee that was instituted by President Museveni to investigate the causes of strikes at Makerere University is set to interrogate former university administrators on why they did not implement recommendations from previous reports to avert future strikes.

Speaking in a telephone interview yesterday, Prof Abel Rwendeire, the committee chairman, said for the last two weeks, they have been reviewing various documents to inform their investigations before they can come up with a report.

“We are beginning consultations with former chancellors such as Prof Mondo Kagonyera, deputy vice chancellors, council members, Senate, staff, senior management members and the public tomorrow (Today),” he said explaining that these are important stakeholders who are supposed to provide the committee with relevant information as to why they ignored previous reports whose recommendations needed to be implemented to prevent future strikes.

Asked whether this will be an open inquiry, he said “unfortunately, it will be closed off the media because the committee needs extreme concentration to come up with the report according to the public expectations,”.

“What would then be the use of coming up with a report if at every stage of our inquiry, we are giving the media information? We need to work and publish our report quietly,” he said.

In 2011, following a staff strike over salary increment that paralysed institution’s activities for more than a month, the government instituted a Prof Omaswa-led committee to look at the university’s job-grading structures, reward mechanisms and the resultant grievances and disputes that have often cropped up at the institution.

Two years later, the 10-member committee faulted government for paying attention to lower education by promoting Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education, leaving higher education to the private sector.

They noted that the university was underfunded, available resources not well utilised, while there were duplications in administrative positions.

Makerere closure
Last month, President Museveni ordered for an indefinite closure of Makerere University following strikes from both lecturers and students which began towards the end of October.

The strike leading to the closure was caused by a sit down strike by the lecturers demanding arrears amounting to Shs32b from their allowances which had not been paid for nine months.

This is not the first time that Makerere University has been subjected into public inquiries.

In 2015, there was the Omaswa report, the Kabaasa report and the 2008 McGregor report. While assuming office last Month, Dr Rwendeire said part of their terms of reference is to inquire why recommendations from these reports have never been fulfilled.

©Alleastafrica and Daily Monitor

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