By Ahmed Kigongo
Makerere University staff tribunal has this week cleared the chairperson Makerere University Staff Association (MUASA) Dr. Dues Kamunyu of all charges put onto his head by the appointments board.
In a historical judgment dated October 14, 2020 Kamunyu’s six months suspension with no pay (on reading) and later changed to half pay was found null and void.
“The suspension of six months with half pay was imposed by the Board on the appellant after the disciplinary proceedings had been concluded. The punishment by the Board (six months with half pay) contravenes section 3 of the Employment Act and section 5.g (B xii) of the Human Resource Manual and is thus illegal,” reads the judgment in part.
The tribunal further ruled that prior to his suspension, Kamunyu was not given a free and fair hearing.
“The tribunal finds that by failing to disclose the particular policy or policies and the relevant provisions of sections that were breached, the appellant was denied an opportunity to adequately prepare his defense and respond to count IV,” reads an excerpt.
“Thus, the respondent violated the appellant’s right to fair hearing which is one of the principals of natural justice,” the judgment reads further.
The tribunal further ordered that the university should immediately pay to Kamunyu the money equivalent to
six months that was deducted from his salary.
“Each party should bear its own costs,”
Commenting on the victory, Kamunyu said his lawyers will study the implications of the malicious charges on his name and advise on the way forward especially since the High Court ruling had protected his application for defamation.
He thanked the staff of Makerere University for standing with him in all circumstances since January 2019.
“You demonstrated to me and the nation that you understood what I was doing and that honesty cannot be punished successfully. You also proved that the injustices committed against your leaders are unacceptable. You supported me financially and morally all through and in you, I saw God,” he said in a statement.
He further reminded the university administration that they were struggling and are still struggling for respect of the institution’s policies, procedures, rules and the laws that govern their employment.
“We wanted a better run institution that had been captured by rogue practices that undermine us, our students and citizens. Gladly, time has proved us right. Our work now is to rally ourselves to always act justly while holding on to what citizens expect of us. To be an example institution that respects its set standards and the laws of Uganda,” he said.
He noted that the judgement therefore indicates that they are still alive to justice and decency. “It also reminds us that we should stop harming positive criticism that is aimed at promoting greater citizenship. It further reminds us that a sound academician or intellectual should never fear accountability.”
According to Kamunyu, they are citizens first and workers next therefore Integrity is acting with honesty, fairness and decency.
“Makerere University Staff should continue advocating for a work space that is free of corruption and hypocrisy in all its operations,” he urged.
“Our stand for decency is also important for our students and the entire nation. We should never be forced to give in. After all, we never went to school to only scape from poverty but also to serve and save humanity from vagaries of ignorance. We can simply do the two without much compromise and as expected,” he added.