Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe has commended Racheal Njeri Njeroge for exposing the university administrator working with the institution’s Senate, who allegedly sexually harassed her from his office.
On Tuesday, a picture leaked to social media platforms showing Edward Kisuze, the accused, having his head between Njeri’s thighs.
Kisuze, who was in a squat position supported Njeri with his hand from her rear, while the latter, dressed in a deep blue blouse — leaned forward, with her eyes open, appearing to be looking into something.
In her message recorded with Makerere Police, she said, out of helplessness and in need of evidence, she grabbed her phone and took a selfie.
Judging from the way her hands appear in the picture (spread out in front of her) and with eyes focused at something — she must have indeed taken the selfie.
In a quite disturbing narrative, Njeri said Kisuze, who is an administrative assistant at Makerere University — “grabbed my boobs, started kissing my thighs” and “put fingers in my vagina”.
The student had on April 13, 2018 come to the institution to pick her transcript.
On an evening of Tuesday, Prof. William Bazeyo, the acting Vice Chancellor Makerere University in a statement said he had suspended Kisuze for failing to furnish the university management with satisfactory defence on the allegations.
“… I hereby suspend you from university service on half pay with immediate effect to allow a smooth investigation into the matter,” wrote Bazeyo.
Mr. Kisuze was also “strongly advised to desist from access to Senate Building premises and or interactions with students at Makerere University.”
To that effect, according to the professor, a committee has been set up to investigate into the matter, and the accused was “asked to handover all university property that may be in your possession.”
Edward Kisuze is currently in a holding cell at police.
Prof. Nawangwe, who is returning Wednesday from Nairobi where has been for a summit with other African vice chancellors — issued a statement posted to Twitter, applauding the student “for her courage in exposing the errant officer who harassed her.”
He went on to “encourage all students who are harassed to report those cases promptly so that we can stamp this Vice out of” Makerere University.
I thank Ms. Njoroge for her courage in exposing the errant officer who harassed her. I encourage all students who are harassed to report those cases promptly so that we can stamp this Vice out of Mak.
— Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (@ProfNawangwe) April 17, 2018
It should be recalled that last month, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe suspended Dr. Swizen Kyomuhendo, a lecturer in the department of social work and social administration, over the same allegations.
Sexual harassment policy
Early February, Prof. Nawangywe said that the university would strengthen the enforcement of its policy on sexual harassment.
He even introduced a committee to help in investigating into such cases.
The University’s policy on sexual harassment was introduced in 2006.
It defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or unwanted physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature.
The policy prescribes several measures to stop the vice such as compelling the accused to apologise publicly to the aggrieved party, compensation, suspension, dismissal, demotion and transfer.
The policy provides for the establishment of the Makerere University Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee at Senate level and Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee at college and department levels to handle complaints.
Despite the existence of the policy, several cases of sexual harassment around the university go unreported.