Makerere Law Society has issued a statement on the continued staff-administration deadlock and notice of intention to sue management for failing their duties.
The Vice Chancellor Prof Nawangwe, on his part, wants the law school closed indefinitely for setting a wrong example.
Here is the statement:
The facts of the staff-administration deadlock now in its fourth week in Makerere University have been extensively represented (and misrepresented) by the several warring parties’ and we feel no need to repeat them save where necessary in this statement cum notice.
This statement cum notice is made on behalf of the Makerere Law Society and the general student community of Makerere University. In this dual capacity and in the interests of both ourselves and our university as a whole, we address you as follows.
- First, the record must be set straight. Makerere University has ten colleges. Of these, only two colleges (College of Health Sciences and the College of Engineering Art & Design) are presently having lectures and this fact is confirmed by the student leaders of the different college student leaderships that have hereunder appended their confirmatory signatures.
The representation by the University Administration, that lectures are ongoing within the entire university save for School of Law is patently false and borders on being divisive.
Furthermore, the claim that students are the ones voluntarily boycotting class is equally false.
These falsities, which have so far been believed by the general public, have largely contributed to the perpetuation of the present stalemate, to our detriment.
The university is under a de facto shutdown and all claims that the situation is normal, circulating within the media, are absolutely untrue and possibly the product of a propaganda campaign.
- At the heart of this stalemate lies a difference of opinion on matters of law. The central staff demand is reinstatement of three suspended association leaders whose suspension they say was illegal. On the other hand, the University Administration maintains that the suspensions were and are legal, and refuses to reinstate the suspended leaders. Neither side is willing to compromise on its demand and this is precisely what is holding a resolution back.
- With each passing day of the impasse, we the student community continue to suffer the worst effects of our university’s de facto shutdown.
- Because the administration’s narrative that the situation is normal has been bought by the general public, there is little incentive in the form of public pressure upon the administration to reach a reasonable compromise fast enough.
- Cognately, the staff associations’ resolute adherence to its demand without any suggestion of a compromise is also harming any chances of a speedy resolution.
- For the avoidance of doubt, we would like to categorically point out that the core of the stalemate is a difference of opinion on a matter of law (the legality of the three leaders’ suspension). We make NO independent opinion on this specific issue and state that it is a matter that ought to be resolved before a court of law.
- There are two immediate and obvious solutions to this impasse and we strongly urge the warring parties and other stakeholders with influence over those parties to urge them to adopt at least one of them.
- These solutions are: a) The staff associations should suspend their strike, pending Court’s determination of the legality of their leaders’ suspensions. If their legal claim is meritorious, their leaders will be reinstated by binding order of Court.
- b) The University Administration should reinstate the suspended leaders and subject them to the disciplinary processes their associations claim were not followed. If the grounds for their suspension were equally meritorious, the administration should predictably succeed in its action.
- This impasse has gone on for far too long, and each passing day is a monumental loss to us and our university.
- Therefore, by copy of this letter, the University Council is further put on notice that unless a resolution of this impasse is reached by close of business on Friday the 15th of February, 2019, the student community as a whole will file a representative suit against the university for breach of contract and violation of the right to education, leaving it upon the university to seek indemnification from the staff associations if they so wish.
In this action, we will be seeking monetary compensation for each and every one of the tens of thousands of students affected by this weeks-long impasse, running into the billions of shillings.
Once this action is filed, we will not be willing to withdraw it without a settlement that involves reasonable compensation.
We therefore strongly impress upon you the gravity of this impending suit and the detrimental liability that will flow from it.
- Please note that we will give no further notice of this suit.
Signed, College Student Leaders, members of the Makerere Law Society and the general student community.