Shortly after taking Oath, Dr. Kamunyu listed ten issues, which he said will be his key areas of focus. Kamunyu, who was overwhelmingly returned after serving six-months suspension from the university, says the past two years at the helm of the association have educated him and given him a lot of satisfaction.
Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi has officially taken over office for a second term as head
of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA).
was inaugurated alongside his 16 member team at a swearing ceremony presided
over by High Court Registrar and Commission of Oath, Allan Mpirwe Gakyaro at
the Central Teaching Facility II at the College of Business and Management
Sciences (CoBAMS) on Friday.
Shortly after taking Oath, Dr. Kamunyu listed ten
issues, which he said will be his key areas of focus. Kamunyu, who was overwhelmingly
returned after serving six-months suspension from the university, says the past
two years at the helm of the association have educated him and given him a lot
now know that in a busy and brainy workplace like ours, people put their faith
in leaders simply because they think they will work justly towards an enabling
environment for all to excel, protect each other and promote peaceful
coexistence,” Dr. Kamunyu said. He argues that University staff are often
consumed by their work and can easily let their trust go unchecked and risk
being misled to believe and act in ignorance.
//Cue in: “Truth was slowly dying…
Cue out: …on this community positively.”//
He has rallied staff to forget the past and pave
way for continued working relations with Management and Council on the
underlying issues pertaining their welfare.
the 15 million for a Professor pro rata
top of Kamunyu’s agenda is achieving the Shillings 15 million pay for a
Professor. In the last two years, the staff achieved three salary increments
(July, 2018, January, 2019 and July 2019). Although
staff had hoped that by July 2019, the Shillings 15M enhancements for a
Professor and pro rata would be achieved, it wasn’t possible as government
adjusted the fulfillment of the presidential pledge.
“You are all aware of HE the President of Uganda’s
confirmation that the 15M will be delivered in July 2020 and we are glad. We
are also counting Council and Management’s support to realize it. This pledge
has been a source of unnecessary anxiety among staff of public universities for
now close to five years. On my side, I envision peace and productive staff
thereafter and in line with the vision of this country,” Kamunyu says.
Kamunyu also expressed deep passion to ensure that they put in place a
competitive medical insurance scheme for staff and their dependants. URN
understands that the University Council established the Makerere University
Staff Medical Insurance Scheme within the capabilities of the budget to benefit
due to calls for the scheme to be expanded to benefit staff dependents, Council
bench-marked other schemes in the Country. It was established that staff at
Kyambogo University for instance contribute 2% of their salary to the health
insurance scheme to cater for at least four family members.
Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere
University Vice Chancellor, says negotiations to conclude a new contract for
the health insurance scheme have been halted to allow for in-put of the associations.
The three staff associations; MUASA, MASA for administrative staff and NUEI –
for support staff are expected to submit resolutions not later than Friday 6th
our aside a committee of experts is working around the clock to deliver on the
draft proposal. It’s my hope that Management and Council will smoothly work
with us to arrive at the best deal as soon as possible. On behalf of the
executive, I applaud our predecessors, Management and Council for reaching at
the concluded contract and I hope for a better contract ahead,” Kamunyu
Kamunyu says pressure has already begun pilling on the Association Executive to
conclude a deal on the resumption of normal staff promotions. In a July 2019, URN reported how the University
had suspended all staff promotions and new recruitments as a result of budget
The institution is currently experiencing budget implementation
challenges including a wage bill deficit of UGX 14.619 Billion and domestic
arrears of UGX 46 Billion including the arrears owed to Makerere University
Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS).
But Kamunyu argues that; “Makerere University
Academic staff compete on the global stage and the freezing of promotions for a
year is a disincentive to us and demoralization is felt. Every day, I have to
answer more than five messages on promotions and something needs to be done
Human Resources Manual
to Dr. Kamunyu, the current Human Resource Manual (2009) has been a subject of
debate for now close to four years with staff mainly reflecting on its
He says staff largely view it as a prohibitive
guide to academic growth, saying it isn’t properly aligned to other laws. According to MUASA, the manual has also been a subject of manipulation
especially by those who wish to gain unfair advantage or lock colleagues out of
“We wish to work with Management and Council to
have a stable but competitive Human Resource Manual that is also sensitive to
local working conditions, the dictates of the labour markets, alignment to
labour laws and one that is consistent with global academic growth trends. We
have been invited to partake in the process of review and we are grateful,”
MUASA has over 1200 Academic Staff, whose numerical
strength according to Dr. Kamunyu, is undermined by small groupings. He says
the staff can gain financial independence; increase their access to cheap
credit by saving little together, which has been sung for a long time.
“We want to promote the already registered SACCO
and negotiate a consolidation/merger of the current established efforts. We
want to emphasize good governance through a strong trustee policy and increase
trust and confidence among staff to actively save with the SACCOs. We have
lessons to learn from MURBS,” Kamunyu.
Bereavement and Emergency Medical Fund
says he wants to introduce and maintain a compassionate initiative to support
staff undergoing tragic moments, such as loss of relatives, special emergency
health care needs among others.
“All over the world, dynamic working people
today secure their lives and give hope to each other through such. We have
pretested this already and we know that it can work well under a board of
trustees. This idea also complements the efforts of Management and Council and
if possible let the work on make good of welfare policy that supports this
initiative start,” Kamunyu.
MUASA Secretariat & Home
Kamunyu intends to set up a fully resourced
secretariat with a view of increasing access to member services and enhance
executive efficiency and we need to act immediately. He argues that the MUASA Executive is made up of
full time Academic Staff and yet members expect a lot from them.
executive says it intends to employ a full time Administrator and high
performance Project Officers and deploy volunteers/interns to increase access
to member services in the next two years. “My desire is to give MUASA a functional
physical identity. We hope that Management and Council will support us in
realizing a dream home with full board services for even our retired members
(e.g. Oxford Union equivalent). MUASA will relocate from staff offices to its
functional home at the Senior Staff Club with immediate effect,” Kamunyu
Research and Publication
Kamunyu says they want do something that keeps
all staff together as academics. He believes that promoting research and
publication among staff and increasing their presence and relevance to society
“Our attempts on negotiating a research fund
yielded in 2018 and we want to do more as we advocate for a competitive grants
management structure. We want to organise debates and public lectures on
critical issues that affect our society. We want to organise a
multidisciplinary research conference yearly on issues of national significance
in conjunction with Mak Publishing House, Kamunyu reveals.
Dr. Kamunyu says his executive in the last two
years stood for good governance and wants to continue to do so. He argues that
Universities that have a weak accountability culture, that deviate from their
established policy direction and human resource best practices usually risk
losing their strategic direction and can be a breeding ground for unending
conflicts based on false academic ambitions and distortive individual
He says they won’t cow down in advocating for
competence based governance system that has a strong element of consensus
building aligned to established laws that govern public universities. “We will continue advocating for progressive and
dynamic policies in academic human resource management and stand against
manipulation of our established rules. We will promote self-censorship among
members especially on issues that undermine our productivity and image,” he
Building a warm and principled relationship
between MUASA, Management and Council
According to Kamunyu, leadership is a joint
venture where stakeholders should fulfill their mandates without undermining
each other. He says conflicts emerge when people forget that they play
complimentary roles that require mutual respect.
“We want to build trust through effective issue
based communication, engagement and dialogue with Management and Council. We
desire an increase in team building events where we can share candidly as
people who want Makerere University to be the best in every aspect of our
service to society,” he discloses.
The Chairperson of the ruling National
Resistance Movement (NRM) Workers League, James Tweheyo has warned against management’s
continued attempts to undermine staff associations. He says the staff problems
and administration are caused by unnecessary fears which must be addressed.
//Cue in: “One of the greatest fears…
Cue out: …within the same anthill.”//
Daniel Fred Kidega, the Vice Chairperson
Makerere University Council says he is impressed by the move of MUASA
leadership towards cooperation and improving conversations between Management,
Council and staff associations.