President Yoweri Museveni has praised vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe's strong stand and decisiveness on ensuring discipline at Makerere University.
While presiding over the 69th graduation ceremony at the university's Freedom Square, Museveni says it's embarrassing to see a lecturer in court defending himself against accusations of sexual assault against students.
Museveni said his government doesn't want indiscipline and moral decadency in Makerere, saying that his government will support the current administration all the way so as to fight impunity at public institutions.
He wants lecturers caught sexually harassing students to resign immediately without further embarrassing the institution through courts and other public foras.
"I want to congratulate Prof Nawangwe and his team for being decisive in terms of disciplining lecturers here and staff. It is very embarrassing to see a so-called lecturer 'raping a young girl' and he’s still teaching. That's rubbish because that person is a [fool]...You commit a crime, you should resign by yourself. We don’t want indiscipline, we don’t want crime in Makerere University - cheating marks, I don’t know what, we don’t want decadency, decadency should not be part of the university." said Museveni.
On his part, Nawangwe said that the measures taken to discipline students and staff are for the good of all stakeholders. In December last year, the Makerere appointments board took a radical decision to sack 35 senior academic staff for among other things absconding from duty, assault, failure to hand in student's marks in time as well as insubordination.
Nawangwe's leadership style has come under public criticism following numerous suspensions and dismissals of both students and staff. Critics accuse Nawangwe of using intimidation and suspension to silence critical voices meant to help improve the institution's development.
Staff have previously disapproved the measures taken by university council and management to improve discipline among students and staff members, saying it is being done in "bad faith."
However, Nawangwe contends that; "no university can fully utilize her potential in an environment where indiscipline prevails."
Adding that "the measures taken are for the good of all stakeholders especially our students. Your excellency, Makerere students are currently the most disciplined students and we are proud of them."
With an impending public university staff strike, Prof Nawangwe assured parents and government that the university was to open as scheduled on Saturday January 19, 2019.
He appealed to all students and members of staff to report as per their timetables, saying all those on duty will be protected to carry on with teaching, research and administrative duties.
"We will not waive in our determination to restore total sanity and respect for our premier university…I particularly warn the few remaining students and the few members of staff who have made hooliganism and disruption of university activities a hobby that it will no longer be business as usual." added Nawangwe.
First Lady, Janet Museveni, who also doubles as the Education and Sports minister, said cabinet is yet to approve the appointment of the government white paper committee to study the recommendations of the 2016 Rwendeire Committee report in order to find a long lasting solution and streamline the university management.
Mrs Museveni said before that step is taken, the university council remains in full control of managing Makerere on behalf of government, saying she has no reason to interfere with their work.
Mrs Museveni's comments come days after the aggrieved staff petitioned the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga protesting their dismissal, citing flawed disciplinary procedures.
Rev Onesmus Asiimwe, the chaplain of St. Francis Chapel, Makerere University in his prayer also hailed Nawangwe's administration for its strong stand against mediocrity and a culture of impunity, which he said had for long taken over the university.