Makerere strike: armed staff ejected, VC claims normalcy

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Makerere staff Amos Dembe with the Officer in Charge at Makerere University Police Station, Nickson Okello outside the main building

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe says the University Council and Management haven’t received notice of industrial action from any staff associations.

“The University is open for normal business and any attempts by sections of staff to disrupt normal business will be dealt with firmly,” he said.

Staff thrown out of meeting

On Monday, Amos Dembe, a Makerere University staff was thrown out of the staff assembly after he was found armed with a pistol gun.

The Makerere University academic staff association vice chairperson, Edward Mwavu, asked the police officers around to disarm Dembe after learning he was carrying a gun.

Dembe is an internal auditor at the institute of public health, Mulago. He was escorted by the Officer in Charge at Makerere University Police Station, Nickson Okello.

Okello said that Dembe is a security operative and he was not aware that he (Okello) is a staff at Makerere asserting that ISO is going to investigate further.

Dembe returned to the meeting after dropping his gun in one of the offices in the Main building.

Full scale strike

Staff members resolved to launch a full blast strike in protest of the university management’s failure to respect their leaders.

The decision to totally withdraw all labour was reached during a fairly attended Joint General Assembly attended by academic, administrative and support staff Associations at the close of the meeting.

The members of staff are agitated over the suspension of their association leaders at the start of this semester and the refusal by the University Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe to lift the suspensions that preceded the current stalemate at Makerere University.

The impasse follows 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. They were accused of misconduct and violation of the terms of their employment.

Although their suspension letters indicate that they were individually suspended as employees of the university, staff at a Joint General Assembly held that the issues they were suspended for are a result of their roles as association leaders.

Dr William Tayebwa, the Head of the Department of Journalism and Communication appealed to the Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe to respect the resolutions of academic leaders to withdraw the suspension of staff leaders since no proper procedures were followed when the decisions were taken.

John Bosco Oryema, a lecturer from the College of Business and Management Sciences said it was shameful that they were being pushed to go back to class when their leaders are out on suspension.

Prof John Jean Barya, an expert in constitutional law says the School of Law is ready to support any staff who gets suspended during this industrial action.

Report by Uganda Radio Network and Daily Monitor

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