Makerere Lecturers Push for Release of Rwendeire Committee Report

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In short
The committee was appointed by President Yoweri Museveni on November 15th last year to probe Makereres chronic financial problems. The committee chairperson Dr Abel Rwendeire died last week before release of the report. Before his demise, Rwendeire said he had finalised the report and was awaiting the presidents appointment to handover and make it public.

Makerere University lecturers under their umbrella, Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) have called for the release of the Visitation Committee Report.
 
The committee was appointed by President Yoweri Museveni on November 15th last year to probe Makerere's chronic financial problems. The committee chairperson Dr Abel Rwendeire died last week before release of the report. Before his demise, Rwendeire said he had finalised the report and was awaiting the president's appointment to handover and make it public.
 
When the president visited Rwendeire's family on Saturday, he revealed that he was supposed to meet the committee and receive the report this week. Museveni said "I appointed this committee upon realising the deficiency in the education system so that they could foster reorientation for the benefit of the country and individuals." He also noted that the report will be historic.
 
Addressing journalists today, the lecturers' association chairperson, Dr Muhammed Kiggundu, said the report is necessary because of the problems that have not been solved. He says the university council has always argued that it's the report which will give them a way forward on how to respond to lecturers' demands.
 
For instance, before the closure of the University in November last year and subsequent appointment of the committee, the lecturers had laid down tools demanding paying of incentives amounting to 49 billion Shillings.
  
The incentive was a 70-percent top up on the salaries of staff to cater for evening and weekend programmes. It was arrived at in 2013 when the university administrators consolidated different allowances into one incentive. The last time lecturers got their incentive pay was in June 2016.
  
Dr Kiggundu says whenever this issue is raised; the University Council says there is nothing they can do before the release of the Rwendeire committee report.
 
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If the report is not released and their issueds are not solved, Dr Kiggundu says the lecturers will be forced to lay down tools once again. He says they anticipate the report will have "miraculous findings and recommendations because many committees have been set up and their recommendations not implemented."
 
Salary enhancement
 
Dr Kiggundu says lecturers want government to release the remaining salary enhancement money in the coming financial year. In 2014, the public universities lecturers were promised salary enhancement to the tune of 15 million Shillings per month for a professor. Kiggundu says President Museveni had said enhancement costing 180 billion Shillings would be given in one financial year but the Ministry of Finance later said it would be impossible.
 
The lecturers have been receiving a certain enhancement percentage per financial year. For instance this financial year, Dr Kiggundu says lecturers got only 25 percent of the money they were supposed to get.  This financial year, they received 19 billion Shillings as part of the enhancement. He says they are demanding 65 billion Shillings.
 
Currently, a professor in science disciplines earns 9 million Shillings while in the humanities the figure is at 7.5 million Shillings. Dr Kiggundu says they want the remaining amount which will make a professor earn 15 million in the next financial year.
 
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The lecturers are also demanding a report on harmonization of their salaries in tandem with other public universities. Dr Kiggundu says when public universities lecturers get salary enhancement, Makerere lecturers are always cheated because, at Makerere to be a lecturer one must have a PhD but in other public universities, a person can rise to the rank of a lecturer without a PhD. This means that a master's degree holder in other public universities can easily earn what a PhD holder earns at Makerere University.
 
Makerere University Council in August appointed a committee to look into the salary harmonization and lecturers are demanding its report in two weeks.
 
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About the author

Blanshe Musinguzi
Musinguzi Blanshe is a politics-cum-business journalist. He joined Uganda Radio Network in February 2017. Previously, he worked at Daily Monitor and Red Pepper Publications Limited. He is keenly interested in data journalism.