Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe has been accused of expressing high levels of egoism that has led to the impasse at the country’s oldest high institution of learning.
This was while appearing before the Parliamentary committee on Education that has advised him to instead explore all avenues of dialogue to have normalcy restored at the university.
The Workers’ MP, Margaret Rwabashaija said that the manner in which Nawangwe is treating fellow academicians is only aimed at undermining the powers of trade unions and associations at the university.
Rwabashaija said that Article 29 says that every person has a right and freedom to join a trade union, to assemble and demonstrate with others as long as he is not armed.
The legislator said that the Public negotiation and Dispute resolution Act, 2018 also talks about workers of public service having a right to withdraw labour or call a strike in furtherance of solving labour disputes provided all negotiating machinery is exhausted.
“There must be dialogue in your heart, expect people to always differ from you, you will not keep locking out everyone. You should also think of the kind of legacy you are leaving behind for the historians to always read; have you tried to exhaust dialogue and it has failed?” Rwabashaija said.
She added, “If you keep dismissing leaders, they will always mobilize their members, you can’t just wake up and say that someone is disturbing the peace of the University and then write a letter suspending someone and the other day you propose to close down the law school.”
Rwabashaija reminded Nawangwe that the people he is fighting are not his Shamba-boys or house maids but fellow academicians.
“They can’t just keep saying yes to whatever you say and you expect them to kneel down before you. I think you should exhaust dialogue and talks to these people like they are your equals because tomorrow, they will be in your position, treat them as your contemporaries if you want to solve the problem.”
The Committee Chairperson, Jacob Opolot said that there are reports that Nawangwe has unleashed a reign of terror at the University.
“Without undermining the integrity of the institution, let’s shed off our personal egos and focus on the best we can agree on for the good of Makerere,” Opolot said.
He added, “If the staff want to run the university like they are management, lets remind them where they are and if management wants to run the university like a kiosk lets also remind them that they should not overstretch their powers.”
However in response, Nawangwe assured legislators that he is a man who cherishes dialogue and has taken all the necessary steps to address the issue.
“Yes we believe in dialogue and our report shows how many times we have been engaging with the various stakeholders. Its not that I simply wake up and write a letter to suspend people, we have outlined all the negotiation procedures and we shall provide all the letters of the warnings that have been given long time ago.”
He added that, “there is no reign of terror in Makerere if so I would have suspended half the university; a university is a collegial arrangement and that is what we cherish and this will continue.”