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Mak Council Halts Hearing of Petition Against MUASA-Tribunal Representatives

This is after the Eng. Dr. Steven Kagoda-led special council committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges resolved on Thursday that the matter is subjudice due to a pending court case about the same.
Justice John Patrick Mashongo Tabaro witnessing the swearing in of Dr. Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala the MUASA-Tribunal Representative on 9th August 2019. Photo by Makerere PR Office
Makerere University Council has stopped proceedings of hearing a petition in which two staff members are challenging the nomination of academic staff representatives to the staff appeals tribunal.  

This is after Eng. Dr Steven Kagoda-led special council committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges resolved that the matter is sub-judice due to a pending court case about the matter. 

The petition dated June 21, 2019 challenges the nomination and election of Associate Professor Kakungulu Mayambala and Dr Phiona Mpanga as Makerere University Academic Staff Association –MUASA representatives to the staff tribunal.

They argue that the process abrogated the association constitution and disregarded the established election norms and procedures.  

Now, sources on the committee say they were informed by members of academic staff association on Thursday that proceeding with such a process would be in contempt of court.

“We agreed that we should wait for the outcome of court,” says a member of the committee.  

MUASA leaders were responding to a November 18 invitation letter by Henry Mwebe, the university legal affairs which required them to appear and respond to the petition in writing by Wednesday, November 20.  

The staff through their lawyers indicated that there was already a court case in which Associate Professors Edward Nector Mwavu, Ronald Kakungulu Mayambala and Dr Phiona Mpanga against Makerere University, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe and Henry Mwebe.  

“The above matters are subjudice our clients having filed the matter in court pertaining the same and you thus cannot be conducting parallel proceedings to court. This, therefore, in contempt of court. …we have accordingly advised our clients not to participate in this clearly contempt of court acts and await the court hearing on 12/12/2019,” lawyers indicated to the university legal director.  

 Two academic staff members; Edson Ireeta Munanura, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy and Dr Dickson Kanakulya, a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy in their petition to the Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe accused the MUASA leaders of fraudulently nominating and electing the two law dons as their representatives to the tribunal.  

Following this petition, the Vice-Chancellor had initially blocked the two representatives from swearing-in on the tribunal until the association resolved the issue.  

However, this led to stalemate on the tribunal as it would not sit owing to quorum until the university Council at its 147th meeting held on August 7, guided that the petitioners petitioned a wrong office and ordered for the immediate swearing-in of the two dons.  

Council at the time according to an August 8th communication by the Vice Chancellor’s office further guided that in case the petitioners felt aggrieved, they may petition courts of law if they wished.  

One of the petitioners Dr Kanakulya is however under fire for assigning a student to teach his colleagues for entire month. At least more than 200 students due for graduation next year are affected.    

A university probe team assigned to investigate the matter found him in breach of the university rules, regulations and procedures. It recommended that Dr Kanakulya be referred to the university Appointments Board for Disciplinary Action.  

Academic staff contend that Dr Kanakulya is being used by the university managers who have since promised to protect him from facing disciplinary action.