Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe is insistent that that suspension of the Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi last week was based in his personal demeanor and not his position as head of the university’s staff association (MUASA).
Kamunyu was suspended last Friday from the institution by Nawangwe, pending a committee investigation into allegations that he was insubordinate and engaged in disruptive activities.
The suspension came just hours to the commencement of the academic staffs’ strike which kicked off Saturday.
While many staff members and stakeholders have accused the VC of steering the university with an iron hand, Prof Nawangwe stresses that indiscipline of any kind will no longer be tolerated at the university.
Observers and some members of Makerere staff believe that Nawangwe’s decision to suspend Kamunyu was meant to disrupt the organization of the striking MUASA members.
Amid the backlash and uncertainty however, last evening Prof Nawangwe took to social media to attack commentators who have been floating these accusations.
The VC said those sympathizing with the MUASA Chairman were “shedding crocodile tears.”
“It is interesting to see so many people jumping up to shed crocodile tears about the suspension of Deus Kamunyu,” he tweeted.
“Deus was suspended for his personal transgressions and not as Chair MUASA.”
He added, “Where were you all when Deus was busy damaging the reputation of Council, Management and many colleagues who have worked for long to build their reputation?”
While in the suspension letter, Nawangwe accused Kamunyu of among others incitement with intent to cause disobedience and strikes, intimidating university officials, using abusive language, slander, insubordination and making false statements; he did not make mention of any specific cases when Kamunyu engaged in these acts.
Edward Mwavu, who deputizes Kamunyu at MUASA, says the suspension of his boss was not based on his person acts but his position as the head of the staff association.
“The accusations brought against him are not personal,” Mwavu told press yesterday. “It’s about the people he is leading.”
While business remains senile, with most lecturers out of class, Nawangwe claims some staff members are not partaking in the strike and are teaching.
“The University opened for classes yesterday and many classes took place,” he says.
Among the reasons raised by MUASA members for their trike is a recent amendment to the university’s human resource manual, which allows powers to the administration to suspend any staff member who has an ongoing criminal or civil suit against him or her in courts of law.