Makerere Law Don Steps Down from Kamunyu Case

In her submission to the tribunal on Tuesday at Makerere University Council Room, counsel Kabinga said Professor Mayambala has a conflict of interest in the case.
File Photo: Associate Professor Mayamba-Kakungulu hugs Dr. Deus Kamunyu during the staff strike against his suspension. The staff had convened on February 2nd this year in Main Hall Makerere to discuss the impasse against the suspension of their leaders.
Professor Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala, a lecturer at the School of Law has excused himself from the hearings of Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi’s case, currently before the Staff Appeals Tribunal. 

This follows a request by Esther Kabinga, a legal officer at Makerere University.

Associate Professor Mayambala is part of the seven-member panel, a quasi-judicial dispute resolution court representing the academic staff. 

In her submission to the tribunal on Tuesday at Makerere University Council Room, Kabinga said Professor Mayambala has a conflict of interest in the case.

“During the time Dr Kamunyu appeared before the Disciplinary Committee of the Appointments Board, Dr Mayambala appeared as his counsel. I strongly feel it will not be fair if he participates in this process,” advocate Kabinga said. 

Dr Kamunyu, the Chairperson of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) dissatisfied with the ruling of the Panel of the Appointments Board, appealed the decision before the staff tribunal. 

On May 13, the Panel of the Appointments Board handed Dr Kamunyu a six-month suspension on half pay after finding him guilty of non-adherence to any other university policies, a charge whose nature his lawyers say was ambiguous and unsustainable in law.

His suspension led to a month-long staff strike that paralyzed business at the institution. 

In his appeal, Dr Kamunyu’s lawyers argue that the Appointment’s Board erred both in law and fact in relying upon prosecution evidence that supported alleged offences for which their client was not charged with and that there was no sufficient evidence to convict him on the alleged offence, hence reaching a wrong decision. 

Dr Kamunyu appeared alongside his lawyer Protazio Byarugaba who neither supported nor objected to the protest by the university lawyer. Byarugaba told the tribunal that it would be at the discretion of the law don to find it prudent to excuse himself from the case as complained against.   

Retired High Court Judge, Justice Patrick Tabaro presiding over the matter asked for a 15 minutes break to allow the tribunal members discuss the matter.

“Professor Mayambala has agreed he will excuse himself from the matter. He will therefore not participate in the hearing and the drafting of the ruling,” Justice Tabaro later communicated to the tribunal. 

The tribunal membership included Dr Mayambala, Dr Phiona Mpanga, Sarah Wegosasa, Edith Kusasira from the ministry of Public Service, George Turyamureeba. 

Court instructed parties to file written submissions. Kamunyu is expected to file his submissions by Monday, December 23rd, 2019and the University to file its defence on January 8th 2020. Kamunyu will then file a rejoinder if any on Monday, January 13, 2020.

  Justice Tabaro says the judgement will be delivered on notice within two weeks after successful submissions.