A section of Makerere University academic staff, dominated by lecturers occupying management positions, constituted themselves into an assembly of 'concerned staff members' and resolved to end the ongoing strike.
The meeting which lasted almost two hours, was largely attended by college principals, school deans and department heads. It was chaired by Makerere University Jinja campus director, Prof J.B. Nyakana and Prof Rhoda Wanyenze, the dean of Makerere University School of Public Health.
The lecturers had come to attend an emergency general assembly convened by Makerere University Academic Staff Association (Muasa) general secretary Dr Richard Walimbwa Friday afternoon in the university main hall.
Earlier, Muasa acting chairperson Prof Edward Mwavu had said that no such meeting had been planned. Journalists were first chased from the meeting, but were called back after some attendants questioned how the meeting was going to communicate its resolutions to the public.
After the meeting, Prof Nyakana told journalists that lecturers who turned up were astonished when no Muasa executive member came for the meeting but added that they constituted themselves into a meeting of sorts to discuss ways of ending the impasse. Makerere academic staff laid down tools following the suspension of Muasa chairperson Dr Deus Kamunyu by the vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.
The suspension came at the backdrop of disagreements between staff associations and the university administration headed by Nawangwe as well as public praises by President Yoweri Museveni for Nawangwe on handling indiscipline at Makerere. The academic staff strike has paralysed teaching activities at the university for the last two weeks, with very few lecturers and students attending classes.
Prof Nyakana said, they were cognizant that they can't call off the ongoing strike, since they were not a general assembly. But he said, members resolved that the strike, which has been ongoing since January 16, be called off.
Prof Nyakana explained that he accepted to chair the meeting, because lecturers could not go back without deliberating on issues that have caused the stalemate at the university.
"This is not a general assembly of Muasa, this is a meeting of concerned members. We were called in for a general assembly at 2pm, but when we arrived here, the whole front bench, there was no member of the whole Muasa executive. In other words, they abandoned the board. Having come, we couldn’t go back because we want to get out of the impasse." said Nyakana.
Prof Nyakana said they will write and send the resolutions to the university council, management and the Muasa executive for implementation. Nyakana said since government has paid them their outstanding emoluments, they see no reason to continue with the strike.