Makerere Academic Staff Impatient with Delayed Rwendeire Committee Report

MUASA Chairman Dr. Muhammad Kigundu (C) addressing journalists together with Prof. Ntare Muhammad (L) and MUASA publicist Dr. Deus Kamunyu (R) on Thursday

Makerere University’s academic staff association (MUASA) has showed worry over the delayed release of the report containing the findings of the Visitation Committee appointed to investigate causes of strikes at the institution.

The Association says that they are concerned that the report may never see the light of day especially now that the Visitation Committee Chairperson Dr. Abel Rwendeire is dead.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Dr. Muhammad Kigundu who heads MUASA appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to avail the findings of the Committee to provide solutions to staff’s grievances.

Late last year, President Museveni commissioned a Visitation Committee after a lecturers’ strike that culminated into the closure of Makerere University for 5 months. The academic staff had been demanding unpaid incentives that government promised them.

The Rwendeire committee was tasked to holistically investigate issues in Makerere and submit a report to the President within a period of 3 months. However, the report is 8 months behind schedule.

“It is possible that the report might get lost in the way since Dr. Rwendeire died. We can not wait forever because our members need to know the plight of their problems,” Kigundu said.

“You never know. The report could provide the much needed solutions”

The academic staff still demands in excess of Ush 60 billion in promised salary enhancement which government promised. Kigundu said that out of the Ush 180 billion that government committed to, lecturers only got 25% of this in 2016.

MUASA has demanded that the arrears be included in this current financial year.

“We think the committee work is over because before his death, Dr. Rwendeire told us that the report had been completed. We made our contribution along with other stakeholders so we want to know the recommendations,” he stated.

The key issues that MUASA is mostly interested in are; staff salary and incentives which they say are critical in ensuring that Uganda’s biggest institution of learning does not lose its best brains.

“We as staff have done our part to make Makerere rank number two on the whole African continent. Those (government) supposed to play their part regarding pay should do so as well.”

They also want salaries harmonized to be commensurate with the relevant academic qualifications that vary with different university systems.

According to Kigundu, failure to avail the findings of the report could drag the university back to the stalemate that it had degenerated into before the Visitation Committee was appointed.

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