Lawyers Challenge Balunywa’s ‘Kisanja’

MUBS Principal Prof waswa Balunywa
MUBS Principal Prof waswa Balunywa

Legal Brains Trust, a limited liability company aimed at enforcing good governance is challenging the reappointment of Prof. Wasswa Balunywa, as principal Makerere University Business School-MUBS. Prof. Balunywa was a reappointed for a third term as MUBS Principal early this week by the Education Service Commission after his second term expired on May 28 this year.  However, Legal Brains Trust contends that Prof. Balunywa is ineligible for re-appointment for another term, because the law demands that he stops at two terms.

Prof. Balunywa was first appointed MUBS principal by President Yoweri Museveni in 1997 for a period of four years under the Makerere University Establishment of constituent college order. His contract expired in May 2003 but was renewed by the university council after he reportedly asked for an extension. In 2007, MUBS decided to turn itself into a University and the Council appointed Prof. Balunywa as Acting VC pending formalization. Through its lawyers of Bwambale, Musede and Co Advocates, Legal Brains Trust wants court to declare the renewal of Balunywa’s contract null and void.

In its complaint, Legal Brains Trust also faults the actions of former Education minister, Namirembe Bitamazire and Francis Lubanga, Education Permanent Secretary for appointing Prof. Balunywa in 2003 and 2007 respectively as the Acting Principal yet they didn’t have the mandate to do so. Citing the University and Other Tertiary Institutions Act of 2001, the legal firm notes that it’s the Education Service Commission or the President to appoint the Principal. Legal Brains Trust also wants court to declare Prof. Balunywa ineligible for reappointment as Principal for MUBs and be barred from holding that office. The legal firm also wants court to compel the attorney general who has been listed as the third defendant to appoint a substantive Principal for MUBs as required by law.

The petitioner claims Prof. Balunywa’s appointment has just been automatic without going through the rigorous process of open recruitment. This suit comes at a time when a whistleblower has just sent a dossier to Parliament, accusing Prof. Balunywa of using the school’s money to treat his mother, supplying goods to the institution in breach of procurement regulations and mismanaging a computer project, allegations he vehemently denies. Court is yet to summon Prof. Balunywa, MUBs and the Attorney General to file their reply before a hearing date can be fixed.

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