Hell is breaking loose at Makerere University after all staff associations ignored threats from the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe against striking.
During the opening day of the 69th graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Prof. Nawangwe told the president and a gathering of parents, students and staff that any staff member who would not show up for work on Saturday 19th January would be dealt with.
The university opened for a new academic semester yesterday. But, the staff associations made an announcement for a strike starting Friday 18th January, at a joint meeting.
The staff associations include; MUASA, MASA and NUEI. In a joint statement, they announced withdrawal of labor with effect from midnight 18th January 2019 until their demands are met as per the resolutions of the joint emergency general assembly of 11 January 2019 held in the main hall Makerere University.
They however announced that hospital, security and salaries staff will continue to serve.
“We denounce in the strongest terms possible the suspension of another association leader, Dr. Deus Kamunyu, the MUASA chairperson, and deployment of soldiers to deny him access to his home on main campus and the unconscionable harassment of his family; and to demand unconditional lifting of his arbitrary suspension with immediate effect, and the removal of the soldiers illegally deployed at his home” the statement reads.
They have now promised to engage the services of lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde of the centre for legal aid to provide legal counsel to all university staff affected or threatened by the continued heavy-handedness, intimidation, victimization and abuse of power by the university management under the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe; and to assist the association leaders to amplify staff concerns as per the resolution of the joint emergency general meeting of 11th January 2019.
The staff associations have also released a list of demands which the university must meet before they offer labour again, and these are; removal of Hon. Thomas Tayebwa and Mr. Bruce Kabaasa from the university council, reinstatement of suspended leaders Mr. Magara Bennet (MASA), Mr. Joseph Kalema (MASA) and Dr. Deus Kamunyu (MUASA).
Other demands are; allowing Ms. Ruth Iteu to represent MASA in the university council, ending attacks on the autonomy of staff associations and their leaders, facilitating staff appeals expeditiously and degazetting unconstitutional amendment of Human Resource Manual.
The staffs have been advised to stay home and not heed to Prof. Nawangwe’s threats as they are illegal. It remains to be seen what the VC will do to the punish them.