An investigation into claims of unethical academic practices at Makerere University has failed to start, more than a year after the complaints were formally registered with the University’s Council.
Last year, during the search for the University’s Vice Chancellor, claims emerged that some of the candidates held academic titles they did not deserve. Professor Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya, one of the candidates at the time accused Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, a fellow contestant and acting Vice Chancellor at the time, of using academic qualifications which he said were not acquired on merit.
In a letter titled: Challenging the promotion of Dr. Venansius Baryamureeba as Professor of Computer Science and request for the Board to rescind their decision, Katunguka claimed that Baryamureeba had falsified his academic qualifications to gain promotion as Professor. He questioned how Baryamureeba got promoted to the position of Associate Professor and later to full Professor and asked that the promotions be reviewed.
In his letter of February 9 2012 to the University Council, Baryamureeba responded by accusing Katunguka of using information in his custody as Director of Graduate Studies to taint his image. He in turn questioned Katunguka’s promotion as Professor of Veterinary Medicine; counter claims, which prompted the University Council, the supreme governing body of the institution, to consider an investigation into the allegations.
Dr. Peter Wana-Etyem, the Chairman of the University Council, said he named a three-man committee to investigate the allegations. The team comprised Professor Frederick Kayanja, the Vice Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology as the leader with Professor Mary Okwakol, the Vice Chancellor of Busitema University and Dr. Vincent Kasangaki, the Director of Information and Computer Technology in the ICT ministry as the members.
However, a year later, it has emerged that the team did not perform its assignment and as a result, the allegations about unethical academic practices at the institution remain unanswered.
Dr Etyem confirmed to Uganda Radio Network (URN) that both Kayanja and Okwakol asked to step down from the three-man committee citing a fear of conflict of interest. He said both members claimed they personally knew the two Professors who were at the centre of the probe.
Etyem further told URN that later, it appeared unnecessary to institute a new team after one of the parties left. In August last year, Baryamureeba, one of the subjects at the centre of the probe resigned from Makerere University soon after he failed to renew his tenure as the Vice Chancellor, a position he was holding in an acting capacity for almost three years. Baryamureeba is now the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University, an institution he formed soon after leaving Makerere. A Certificate of Incorporation of the University indicates that it was registered by Registrar of Companies on August 30 2012, days before Baryamureeba handed over to Professor John Ddumba Ssentamu, the new Vice Chancellor of Makerere University.
Etyem told URN that Baryamureeba’s departure meant a logical end to any possibility of investigation the allegations concerning him saying as an institution, Makerere University could only pursue claims against its staff and the institution.