WE WON’T BE COWED! Mak Staff Threaten Strike Over Nyanzi Suspension
By Venenscias Kiiza
Makerere Staff under their umbrella, Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) have threatened to go on a ‘solidarity strike’, if management goes ahead to suspend their colleague Dr. Stella Nyanzi who last week pointed words at the First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni.
Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi, the MUASA spokesperson said, as staff they are outraged by the actions of the appointments board that rushed to have Nyanzi suspended without giving her a fair hearing. He said, staff will not allow their fellow academician be subjected to such unfairness, hence there is a need to protect her and those who could be victims of the same in the near future.
“As staff we are still discussing this issue internally. The decision to suspend Nyanzi just like that, threatens the membership of our profession. It is our stand to help our fellow staff in such times. In case Nyanzi is not given a fair hearing, we are going to protest and other staff members are ready. We need to protect the integrity of our staff,” Kamunyu said, in a phone interview.
He blamed the appointments board for acting high on the matter even when the first lady had already publically forgiven Dr.Nyanzi. He has since appealed to the public to understand them, including the first lady.
“In such scenarios, there must be a complainant first, and in this case who complained to the board? No one! The process must be followed; there should be a complaint before them from someone. Or else let those aggrieved first go to police or court and complain. We need to protect our fellow staff because it can happen to someone. The university should stop stampeding on Dr.Nyanzi’s contract,”Kamunyu added.
Kamunyu’s remarks were echoed by another staff member at a level of professor who preferred anonymity.
”I don’t want this nonsense. How can someone be suspended because he/she has attacked the first lady or the president…is this madness? As academicians we need independence. That’s why from the beginning I was not comfortable with this lady (Janet) being an education minister, this confirms my fears. But let them dare make any mistake and have Nyanzi suspended; they will come from statehouse and teach students for themselves. We shall not allow this kind of intimidation, we are academicians, and we shall not be cowed”.
However, in a phone interview, vice chancellor Prof. John Ddumba, said that, they are aware of staffs’ concerns over the matter, and they are cooperating with Dr. Nyanzi over the issue. He said, they have since written to her, inviting her to appear before the disciplinary committee, adding that she is aware of everything, which is going on.
This follows last week’s Friday letter from University’s Appointment’s Board chairman Bruce Kabaasa, to the University Vice Chancellor Prof Ddumba Sentamu, informing him to suspend Nyanzi. Kabaasa said Nyanzi adamantly declined to heed to earlier warnings and carried on with her attacks on the First Lady.
“Dr Nyanzi has continued to use social media to violate Sec 5.7.7 of the Makerere Human Resources Manual 2009. It is particularly regrettable that she has made it a habit to insult, dehumanize and castigate the line minister of education and sports under whose docket Makerere University supervision falls,” read part of the letter.
Prof Ddumba was directed “to implement the decision of the Appointments Board by suspending Dr Stella Nyanzi from University Service with immediate effect.”