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Stafford University clarifies on contentious study centre

Muyenga-based Stafford University Uganda (SUU) has distanced itself from the recently-opened study centre at Tirupati Mazima mall in Kabalagala.

Prof Alfred Nuwagaba, the SUU vice chancellor, told The Observer the institution does not own any other study centres in the country apart from the one in Soroti.

This is in response to former university director Dr Henry Egesa, who broke ranks with the other four directors to set up what he calls an extension to the institution. Dr Egesa broke away with Prof Otanga Rusoke, a former employee at Stafford.

Prof Alfred Nuwagaba (L), the Stafford University Uganda vice chancellor, with Alfred Okello-Oryem, the institution’s external lawyer

Speaking at the university premises in Muyenga on Thursday, Prof Nuwagaba said the public has been swayed to believe the university opened another centre in Kabalagala whereas not.

“SUU management has not opened or sanctioned any center at this mall. Therefore, any operations in the names of our university at this purported centre at Tirupati Mazima mall are illegal,” he said.

Prof Otanga had written to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) applying for inspection of the rented premises in Kabalagala on grounds that the current facilities in Muyenga are inadequate for the increasing number of students.

However, NCHE deputy executive director, Dr Alex Kagume, rebuked Otanga’s request in a September 13 response.

“Please note that advertising, mounting and recruiting students to unaccredited programmes and relocating to a new place without authorization by NCHE constitutes a serious breach of terms and conditions for holding a provisional license,” reads Kagume’s letter.

Nuwagaba said the matter has since been brought to the attention of NCHE which engaged both parties at its offices in Kyambogo on Friday.

After the meeting, Alfred Okello-Oryem, the university’s external lawyer, told The Observer on Friday that NCHE ruled that the study centre in Kabalagala is illegal.

“They [NCHE] have also given us two weeks to resolve governance issues at the university and report back to the council on October 2,” he said

Okello-Oryem added that the university will also hold a board meeting on Monday [today] to discuss and make other necessary resolutions for the smooth running of the institution.

Simon Ross Euku, the Stafford University council chairman, said the meeting aims at determining whether to continue with Dr Egesa as a director at the university.

“If someone [Egesa] decided to break away, we shall give him the opportunity to go away as he has already opted to disorganize the university. I don’t think he would wish to stay with us after his actions,” Euku said.

Currently, Stafford University has about 700 students and 50 teaching staff. Stafford University started operations on September 28, 2015 after NCHE issued it a provisional license to operate as a private university on plot 609/611 Zzimwe road in Muyenga-Kisugu.

nangonzi@observer.ug

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