Makerere University council has for the third attempt initiated a search process for a substantive deputy vice-chancellor in charge of finance and administration.
The decision of the council has been communicated by the acting university secretary Yusuf Kiranda in a November 24 letter.
“...the council decided that the search process be restarted and that the corresponding court ruling and guidance from the solicitor general be followed. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you of the above council decision for your further action,” the letter reads in part.
According to Kiranda, the decision was arrived at during the council sitting held on October 27. However, URN has obtained other documents indicating that the same matter had been discussed in September by the same council and a similar resolution passed.
The council made its decision after receiving a report from the chairperson of the university senate. Some of the issues that informed their decision included the fact that only three candidates participated in the public presentation. The council noted that “This number was below the five candidates that the search committee is required to present to the senate.”
However, it is argued that over time, the search committee has been required to present not more than five candidates. In the first search, the committee led by Prof. Joseph Mugisha submitted only one name. While overturning the results of the process, justice Musa Ssekaana pointed out that the committee had overstepped its mandate and turned the university senate into a rubber stamp since there was no other choice for consideration.
In the second search process attempt, the committee received four applications but only three made a public presentation including Prof William Bazeyo formerly acting deputy vice-chancellor in-charge finance and administration, Prof. Anthony Mugisha, and associate professor Allan Mulengani Katwalo.
The council was also notified about two important developments including the expiration of the mandate of the search committee and Prof. Bazeyo's withdrawal from the process leaving only two candidates in the race.
There were also several allegations presented before the council indicating that one of two candidates that remained in the race has been enticing members of the senate and university council requesting favouritism.
On Friday, the university senate held a meeting to among other things receive official communication from the council on the matter and the new terms of reference for the search but also look at the way forward for the search process. For the third year running, Makerere is still without a substantive officer ever since Prof Barnabas Nawangwe left the position after being appointed vice chancellor.
Prof Bazeyo replaced Nawangwe in an acting capacity and later emerged as the best candidate in the search process that was held in 2019. However, the High court quashed the results of the search process following a petition by some candidates, saying the exercise was ‘unfair and unlawful’.
In a twist of events, Bazeyo was reappointed in an acting capacity by the university chancellor Prof Ezra Suruma despite an uproar from his competitors.