Following the presidential directive of indefinitely close Makerere University, a lot has been happening at the campus that the public has been unaware of or have been wrongly informed about. RITAH NAMISANGO, the senior public relations officer, has today given an interview to this website about the current state of affairs.
QN: What is the state of Affairs at Makerere University, any updates?
As of today, Tuesday 8th November 2016, Makerere University is still closed as per the directive from H.E President of the Republic of Uganda. The Government of Uganda together with the line Ministry (Ministry of Education and Sports) are undertaking consultations with key stakeholders.
We are therefore waiting for guidance from the Ministry of Education and Sports.
QN: Why did the university ban staff from traveling abroad?
The guidance was contained in the letter written by the Hon. Minister of Education and Sports. The Hon. Minister stated as follows:
"In addition, I would like to guide that: Travel inland and abroad on behalf of the University shall be suspended."
QN: So the staff are free to travel abroad as long as it's for their personal business and not going to represent the university?
QN: By the time of the closure, had Members of Staff received their salaries? To be specific, the salary for October 2016?
Yes. All staff of Makerere University had received the salary for October 2016. I wish to reiterate that all staff of Makerere University were paid salaries. So, the strike is not tagged to salaries. The strike by MUASA follows demand for payment of accumulated incentive arrears.
QN: If salaries were paid, what led to the laying down of tools by Academic Staff of Makerere University?
I wish to reiterate that all staff of Makerere University were paid salaries. So, the strike is not tagged to salaries.
In addition to the salaries, the Makerere University Council approved payment of incentive (allowance) per month to Members of Staff (academic, administrative and support) of Makerere University.
However, with the shortfall in the expected University income, the Makerere University Council although committed to the payment of incentive (allowance) to members of staff failed to effect the incentive (allowance) to Members of Staff (Academic, Administrative and Support) on time.
Hence the accumulated incentive arrears (February to September 2016). Thus, the matter of unpaid accumulated incentive (allowance) arrears affects staff of Makerere University (academic, administrative and support).
QN: Are the non-teaching staff (Administrative and Support) affected by accumulated incentive (allowance) arrears?
Yes. Incentive is paid to members of staff (both teaching and non-teaching staff). It is therefore true that the non-teaching staff were also demanding for payment of accumulated incentive arrears, but it important to note that the non-teaching staff were not on strike.
QN: If the non-teaching staff are also beneficiaries of the incentive, why didn’t they join the strike to demand for payment of accumulated incentive (allowance) arrears?
The non-teaching staff were not on strike. The non-teaching staff continued to work. The non-teaching staff through their staff associations namely Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA) and NUEIU (National Union for Education Institutions in Uganda) were still waiting for the outcome of the Kabaasa Committee report to Council on incentive (allowance).
QN: Have the university vehicles been returned?
The University Council held an emergency meeting on Thursday 3rd November 2016. It is true that one of the issues discussed during the Makerere University Council meeting chaired by Eng. Dr. Charles Wana Etyem while operationalising the Presidential Directive to close Makerere University focused on University vehicles.
To be specific, the Makerere University Council decided as follows;
All University vehicles, except for the Offices required to remain with skeleton staff during the closure should be parked and keys handed over to the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration).
I have consulted the Estates and Works Department who have informed me that they are on station receiving University Vehicles that are being returned by Members of staff.
Some Members of Staff have also contacted University authorities and informed them that they will hand over the vehicles by close of business tomorrow-Wednesday.
I am certain that by close of business on Wednesday 9th November 2016, the team from Estates and Works Department will provide an update to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) and Vice Chancellor on the number of University vehicles returned and parked at Estates and Works Department.