Five MUK VC Candidates Threaten to Quit Race

2340 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Five of the candidates contesting for the position of Makerere University vice chancellor have threatened to withdraw from the race unless Professor Venansius Baryamureeba steps down as acting vice chancellor.

Five of the candidates contesting for the position of Makerere University vice chancellor have threatened to withdraw from the race unless Professor Venansius Baryamureeba steps down as acting vice chancellor.
 
Professor Baryamureeba, who has been in the position since 2009, is also in the race to retain the seat.

The five candidates including Professors Tonny Oyana, Barnabus Nawangwe, Edward Kirumira, Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya and Augustus Nuwagaba, met at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on Sunday and resolved to halt their participation until the search committee meets their set conditions.

Among the conditions is the immediate stepping down of Prof Baryamureeba, the committee to publish a clear timetable for the search process, and official communication to candidates, senate, and the university council to be made formerly and in good time.

The candidates told the search committee that they shall be ready to continue with the process after the above conditions are met.

According to the statement, the secretary to the search committee, Alfred Masikye, has to respond to their conditions on Monday morning.

Professor Katunguka told Uganda Radio Network that the 8-hour ultimatum for Professor Baryamureeba to step down is based on an earlier advice by the Solicitor General Harriet Lwabi, who had advised Baryamureeba to step down to avoid conflict of interest in the process. Baryamureeba, according to Katunguka, disregarded the advice and remained chairing the senate, and is still a member of the university council.

Katunguka further says that with two members of the search committee being members of the council, and three being from the university senate, there is a concern that Professor Baryamureeba could have 90 percent chances of influencing the decisions of the search committee.

Professor Kirumira also expressed concern that by remaining in office of the vice chancellor, Baryamureeba will receive the search committee report as chairman of senate and determine how and when senate will be called to consider the search report.

On Sunday morning, the five candidates were scheduled to converge in the main building for a public presentation, but Dr. Bernabas Nawangwe told Uganda Radio Network, that the search process is only rotating around personalities, and some candidates receive information at the last hour.

According to Dr. Nawangwe by 4:30pm on Sunday, he had not received any information about the presentation.

Dr Tanga Odoi, the chairman of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association, says that the threats by the candidates became one of the big blows in the search for a substantive vice chancellor for the university.

Efforts to reach professor Baryamureeba were futile, as his phone went unanswered.  But Ritah Namisango, the university publicist, says the search program is independent and that it shall go on as planned. According to Namisango, the search committee shall present the recommended candidates to the university senate by the end of this month.