Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University staff members petitioned the University Council Chairperson Lorna Magara, to reconsider the composition of the Senate.
Earlier this month, Makerere University staff through their Associations; the Makerere University Academic Staff Association- MUASA, Makerere Academic Staff Association-MASA, and the National Union of Education Institutions- NUEI said that they had identified irregularities in the composition of the Senate members and argued that these irregularities may have legal consequences for the university.
According to the staff, while the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended 2006, requires two representatives of the Principal Constituent Colleges, schools, or institutes, they notice, in practice, Makerere University has been breaking the law by including all principals of colleges on the senate.
The staff in a letter dated 8th January 2024 recommended that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe who is also the Chairperson of the Senate guide the college principals in choosing their two senate members from Makerere University and that they should stop attending senate meetings going forward.
However, according to a petition dated 19th January 2024, the staff told Magara that while they brought the anomaly to Nawangwe earlier on 8th January, they were surprised that during the senate meeting that was held on 18th January 2024, again all Principals attended.
“This matter was raised by a section of senators, but the Chairperson of the senate ignored it and allowed Principals of constituent colleges to remain in the senate meeting with full rights under the pretext that the University Council has the mandate to determine who sits in the Senate.” reads part of the petition.
In the petition, the staff wants the University Council Chairperson to put it on record that for all the years, she has been presiding over a University with an illegally constituted senate with a result that all its decisions are potentially illegal, null, and void.
According to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions 2001 as amended; Article 42 (1) (f) which describes the functions and powers of the Senate says that; “the Senate decides which persons have reached the standard of proficiency and are fit for the award of any degree, diploma, certificate or other awards of the University.”
But, in their argument, the staff say that all decisions made by this Senate are potentially null and void.
It is against this background that the staff requested Magara to guide the Chairperson of the senate to ensure that College Principals elect their two representatives to the Makerere University senate, as per section 44. (2) (d) of the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended.
But, in an earlier interview with URN, Nawangwe said that while he agrees that the Associations are raising a genuine concern, it is the same law that says that the council may appoint any other persons for the better running of matters of the senate, and it is on that basis that council resolved to have all college principals in the senate.
Nawangwe however said that he is yet to respond to the Staff Association letter, saying that he is awaiting legal guidance on the matter.