Friday, 16 August 2013


It is unfortunate that Museveni can imagine firing Lecturers as if he can have a replacement!  His utterances at times make him look like a Kazanyirizi with lack of seriousness while handling important matters of the state.  For him to say that the lecturers should have had their demands before the budget is most unfortunate.  Looks like he is shouldering too much as it is common knowledge that the lecturer demands did not start yesterday.  Museveni is a Military General who forgets that Uganda has generals in other fields of competence.    
It is common knowledge that there is a probe into shs 10bn which he or the NRM Government sanctioned as a thank you to voters, and the accountability is no where to be seen!  Museveni’s administration is unfortunate, much as Obote may have been that bad, given opportunity, Uganda would be like the Asian Tigers, because there was serious economic management.
When Museveni shoot himself to power, the salary structure was clean and clear, today, we hear that Vice chancellors of different Universities are paid differently, yet in his wrong decision making which makes many professionals wish for greener pastures, he has not thought about retiring to Lwakitura to give other capable Ugandans to keep the country on a meaningful trend other than concentrating on unproductive undertakings.
It is corruption on the part of Government to want to induce some staff at Makerere University to violate the norms of the Industrial action and go back to work.  The problem is there and real.  Assuming Museveni were a lecturer at Makerere and were faced with the many student scripts these lecturers have to mark, wouldn’t he have been the first to lead a strike given his outlook?     
The sensible thing the NRM Government has to do is to stop taking Ugandans for granted.  We want to be civilized people, but our leaders should first practice civilized management of the state matters.  You cannot keep on wasting and devaluing the Uganda currency and imagine that the people will give services as you keep on the loose.
If Museveni wants the teachers back to work, what he ought to do is to act statesmanlike.  He ought to get to the drawing board with his technical team so that they identify areas where rationalization can be done.  Even if lecturers did not get an immediate pay rise, but there is commitment on the part of Government for their plight, this would be a positive move.  It is Museveni Governance that has an over 350 big parliament, while even a Parliament of about 150 could suffice.  Patronage has eroded any credibility in what would be good plans for the Government.  The unemployed youth are a problem created by the NRM Government.  
The way forward is not to keep telling how Government is spending on infrastructure, as a rational Government makes a balance between the two.  After all, we are aware that from the infrastructure monies, a lot is equally diverted.  What serious Government can transact using people’s personal accounts!  It is only the NRM Government.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

Makerere Staff Salary Row Deepens

Makerere University Council has maintained its last week’s stance that the institution will not afford remunerating double the salaries of its lecturers, as they demand to have it elevated by 100 percent; and is now calling on the government to take over the payment responsibility. 

By Sam Waswa 09/08/2013 18:29:00 

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Ddumba Ssetamu

On August 6th 2013, the lecturers informed the Council that they would not return to work until the 100 salary increment is implemented.

Students too, have since joined in to give government up a deadline of August 14 to have resolved these squabbles with the lecturers or they would stir up the entire diplomatic demanding process. 

The university currently contributes 43 percent to the total of Shs 5.5 billion that goes to the employees’ monthly salaries.

Vice Chancellor Prof Ddumba Sentamu told our Chimp Corp, Sam Waswa on Friday moments after a Council meeting on the matter that doubling this amount would imply that the university will have to part with more that Shs 75bn annually to cater for its staff, which is impossible, considering that they are already in a Shs 50 billion deficit. 

“We have now arranged to meet with officials from the Ministry of Education on Tuesday next week to have government take over the university’s entire wage bill and we are hoping that they will accept,” he said. 

In the meantime, chances of having the university open up for the next semester on August 18 are still minimal. To this, Prof Ddumba acknowledged that the official opening date might have to be postponed in the event that the ongoing deliberations between council, staff and government don’t bear fruits by the end of next week.

“We have however, set up a council committee that will sit with MUASA and seek to come to the bottom of this whole matter. We are appealing to them to come back to work as we find solution to this problem, which we think should be the very final lasting solution. We only hope that they will understand our situation,” said Prof Ddumba. 

“But if they stick to their stance and don’t turn up for business, then the opening date might have to be postponed,” he added. 

By press time, details from the meeting between lecturers and council, which proceeded through Friday evening, were yet to emerge. 

Meanwhile Ddumba revealed that in the morning council meeting, they had agreed that the university remains open as opposed to lecturers demand to close everything down. 

“Students are reporting normally and picking admissions, banks are open and they are paying their fees in line with the stipulated payment policy, without contestation,” he said.

Government orders Makerere lecturers to resume work within two weeks

Education ministry Permanent Secretary Nassali Lukwago,  State Minister for Sports
Education ministry Permanent Secretary Nassali Lukwago, State Minister for Sports Charles Bakabulindi and Education minister Jessica Alupo before the parliamentary committee on education. Photo by Geoffrey Sseruyange  
PARLIAMENT- The government has issued a two-week ultimatum to all the striking Makerere University lecturers to report back to work or else be replaced.
The Minister of Education, Ms Jessica Alupo, issued the ultimatum yesterday after she told the parliamentary Education Committee that the government is engaging willing lecturers to ensure that they go back to class.

Lawmakers, however, criticised this behind-the-scenes activity by the government as an attempt to drive a wedge through the lecturing community by “divide and rule”.

“Government urges the governing council to take necessary steps to ensure that willing members resume work in two weeks. The minister has the powers to guide universities on matters of policy and, under the circumstances, the council should interact with lecturers willing to teach,” said Ms Alupo.

She said the government is working closely with the university council and shall prescribe a framework for those lecturers who are willing to work “so that we find a way of filling in the gap for those who will not turn up in two weeks”.

At least 1,400 lecturers form the body of academic staff at Makerere.
Legislators quickly warned yesterday that the government’s clandestine approach of wooing some lecturers back to the lecture rooms without addressing the recurring pay rise problem is a recipe for more disaster and would only escalate the problem.
MPs Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West), Julius Maganda (Samia Bugwe South) and Judith Franca Akello advised that government instead finds a way of motivating lecturers as opposed to seeking to divide them.
“Teachers are on strike and government must listen to their plight. Expelling them is trying to massage the problem but without finding a cure and this will precipitate more strikes,” said Mr Ssewungu.
Other MPs questioned the criteria government was using to talk to some lecturers and not others.
In a press statement released by the Education ministry yesterday, Ms Alupo indicated that the government is committed to continue working with Makerere towards finding a practical solution that will cause the re-opening of the university within a short time.

Ms Alupo said the government had written to the university council indicating that the100 per cent salary increment demand “is not possible”.
“We as government share the lecturers’ dilemma like you do and we are in support of the decision taken by the university council. Government is also conscious about motivating workers but the demand is not possible in the short term. Maybe in the near future,” said the minister.
But even before she was through with her submission to the lawmakers, Makerere University students stormed Parliament demanding that the university be re-opened as a matter of urgency.
The students led by their guild president, Ms Anna Adeke, handed over a petition to the shadow minister for education, Ms Judith Franca Akello, and called on government to expedite the process of re-opening the university.
The students community is concerned that several international and private sponsored colleagues were forced by the university administration to pay 60 per cent of the tuition but are now stranded in hostels.
Makerere University Council on Wednesday closed the institution a day to the start of a new academic year, saying there is no money to meet its staff demands of 100 per cent salary increment.
Other MPs suggested that universities should equitably utilise funds they accumulate from the university assets as they called on government to urgently open the university.

Last year, the government instituted a committee led by Prof Francis Omaswa to review staff salaries.
The committee recognised that the lecturers were underpaid and recommended that a professor, who currently earns a gross pay of Shs3 million per month, be reviewed to Shs8 million.

But the lecturers are demanding that before government moves to implement the findings of the report, their pay be reviewed to Shs3.8 million take home for a professor.

Meanwhile government has recommended a forensic audit of all universities and other tertiary institutions.

MPs Query SH10 Billion for Market Vendors' Interest-Free Loans

Officials from the Ministry of Finance and Micro Finance Support Center (MSC) were on Tuesday tasked to explain why Sh10b given to them by Ministry of Finance to advance interest-free loans to market vendors and small business operators through SACCOS had not been disbursed.

The Money acquired under the presidential initiative on market vendors and small business operators fund was approved by parliament during the financial year 2010/2011 as a supplementary request.

However according to the auditor general's report currently before the Public Accounts Committee, MSC has never implemented the disbursements after its acting director requested for guidelines and modalities of disbursing funds to SACCOs even when the funds were released by ministry of finance to its account.

The auditor general also observed that due to external pressure, a number of re-allocations totaling to Sh 1.2b were made and new beneficiaries were brought on board which affected disbursement to SACCOs that had originally signed memoranda of understanding with MSC.

Appearing before the MPs on Tuesday, the officials led by Moses Kaggawa commissioner in charge of microfinance in the Ministry of Finance, were also quizzed over the criteria for selecting beneficiaries saying most of the beneficiary groups ,belonged to NRM.

The initiative which has been since suspended for investigations of misuse of the Sh10b was established with an aim of creating a revolving fund through which these economic agents could be able to access affordable working capital at no interest.

"What emergency was there to require for a supplementary budget? Would I be wrong if I said this money was used during the 2011 elections? Why didn't you ask for this money under the normal budget?" asked Kassiano Wadri the chairman PAC.

The officials from MSC told the committee that they had never requisitioned for the money adding that it was the Ministry of Finance that had sent in the supplementary budget request whose use they didn't understand very well.

"We got the money but we didn't know how to spend it until we wrote to the finance ministry asking for the guidelines and modalities on how to disburse the money," said Wilson Wamatsembe the acting director MSC.

MP Christine Abia (Arua district) however shocked the officials when she read out a letter by the then executive director MSC who asked the ministry of finance to release the funds since they had been approved by parliament.

MSC officials then conceded; "It was in error when we said we only knew about the money when it was on the account. I would like to apologize and withdraw the statement. That letter was written and money approved," said the deputy executive director

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