Mak VC Faces Social Media Backlash Top story

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In short
A copy of the communication was posted on the university social media pages. But this has sparked wide criticism over the uncompromising university management. The communication drew mixed reactions from social media users.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor has come under fire from social media users over his remarks about the ongoing staff strike. On Monday, the Makerere University Joint Staff General Assembly resolved to launch a full scale strike to protest failure by management to respect their leaders.

Joint Staff General Assembly brings together academic, administrative and support staff Associations. During the assembly, staff vowed not to resume work until management lifts the suspension of Bennet Magara, the Chairperson Makerere Administrative Staff Association - MASA, his Secretary, Joseph Kalema and Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the Chairperson Makerere University Academic Staff Association-MUASA.

Prof. Nawangwe described the resolution as illegal and asked both staff and students to disregard it. He directed staff that hadn't resumed work to so immediately. "We cannot allow a situation of anarchy to continue while the students are suffering," Prof. Nawangwe said in an email to staff.

Adding that, "I wish to inform the University Community, that neither Council nor Management has received an official notice of industrial action as required by Law from any of the staff associations. This pronouncement is made at a time when 85% of the University has returned to normalcy and business is running according to schedule in most colleges except the School of Law,"

A copy of the communication was posted on the university social media pages. But this has sparked wide criticism over the uncompromising university management. The communication drew mixed reactions from social media users.  Responding to the post on Facebook, Paul Matovu, said lecturers were holding their future at ransom and have refused to swallow their pride. He scoffed at the comments by the Vice Chancellor that the classes were going on normally.

"I stopped getting annoyed at the allegations that lectures are going on normally purported by the administration. Now I just wonder what type of people for we have to guide us on the path of our careers," Matovu said. Jospert Chel observed that the problem at hand is likely the work of an invisible hand and of tolerance for criticism.

"It is not yet NORMALCY at Makerere University; people here are living in denial. How does it help not to agree and force people to teach? What sort of graduates do you expect from a demoralized and frustrated team? Can't management sort this issue over a period of time, possibly a year by allowing the Leaders of these associations to return and have them investigated," Chel said on social media. 

Joseph Baliira advised the Vice Chancellor, saying "Stop the bullying of your fellow learned colleagues and listen to them." But Philip Watuwa came in to support Prof. Nawangwe, saying he is on his path to 'cleaning' the university.  

"We are tired of these strikes every if Makerere is the only university in Uganda... Other staff in other public university are working and making out their complaints in right channel but MUK anything small you hear industrial action and this has led to half-baked graduates so pliz clean the university off the vices," he said.

Silas Baryagasha ‏ @silasbaryagasha on Twitter Replying to @MakerereU said; "You had better sort the problem other than countering pronouncements by the staff of the university." Joseph Kabonge ‏ @JosephKabonge also replying to @MakerereU said; "Stop defending the indefensible. Solve the impasse at hand. No one is above the law."

Xavier ‏ @Xavier85035378 on Twitter commented thus; "My school of SFEGS [School of Forestry, Environment and Geography Studies] has been student is allowed to enter the premise and [you] say situation is going back to normal. Wake up management. [You] are not seeing realities on ground."
Wasswa George ‏ @WasswaGeorge also replying to @MakerereU @MakLawSchool said; "It's a pity that the government is planning the sale of the oldest university in Uganda."


About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba