In a letter dated March 10 written to Serunkuma who’s also a PhD student at the Makerere University Institute of Social Research [Misr], Nawangwe says if he doesn’t desist from these writings, unspecified disciplinary measures will be brought against him.
Yusuf Serunkuma on thr right courtesy photo
Makerere University vice-chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe has
ordered Observer newspaper columnist Yusuf Serunkuma Kajura to desist from
making, ‘malicious attacks’ on officers of the university in the media and on
other social platforms.
In a letter dated March 10 written to Serunkuma who’s also a PhD
student at the Makerere University Institute of Social Research [Misr], Nawangwe
says if he doesn’t desist from these writings, unspecified disciplinary
measures will be brought against him.
“It has been brought to my attention that you continue to write
articles in the mass media and on social media platforms which are detrimental
to the good reputation of Makerere University. In your articles, you have made
personal attacks on officers of the University including making racist and
xenophobic comments. This kind of behaviour is not only in contravention of the
University‘s Communication Policy but also damages the university’s image as an
international and tolerant institution and is not acceptable,” Nawangwe’s
letter reads in part.
Serunkuma runs a weekly column in the Observer Newspaper touching
on social, political and economic issues of the country. He’s also a regular
guest on radio and television talk shows.
Last year, Serunkuma also sued Misr director, Prof Mahmood
Mamdani, together with the University for Illegally interfering in his academic
process hence scuttling his chances of completing his PhD in social studies in
Through his lawyers of Parkhill advocates, Serunkuma has called
Nawangwe’s orders not only illegal but also unacceptable.
“It is an unacceptable departure and indeed a shameless negation
of the freedom of speech and expression which right is jealously protected by
Article 29 of the Constitution…Personally, indeed in your official capacity,
you lack the power to censor our client in the enjoyment of his constitutional
rights to free expression,” the letter dated March 13 reads in part. It
adds that they have been closely observing a very worrying and dangerous trend
slowly creeping in at Makerere whereby threats, blackmail and outright
intimidation are used as tools to suppress academic freedoms and free speech.
“You have unfortunately set yourself apart as the chief promoter
and implementer of this reactionary tendency. We wish to register here and now
that whereas other people have submitted to your indiscretion and illegal
exercise of the power entrusted to you by your office, our client will not take
it in lying down in that regard,” the letter reads in part. Instead of
heeding Nawangwe’s warning, Serunkuma’s letter has another warning of itself.
“Should you make the mistake and be minded to implement the
threats and illegalities contained in your letter, we will sue and seek
remedies from the court against you personally…we shall not be lumped together
with over victims of your authoritarian tendencies that have been innocently
suing the university instead of the rightful culprit,” the letter reads.
Ever since he took over as Makerere University Vice-Chancellor in
2017, Nawangwe has used an iron fist to enforce what he calls discipline among
students and academic staff. He has expelled or suspended students, academic
and non-teaching staff for participating in demonstrations. President Museveni
is on record thanking him for the job well done in ending strikes at Uganda’s
oldest and biggest university.