As the Mbarara University of Science and Technology staff strike enters its ninth day, the committee of Parliament on Education on Thursday, May 9, met with the top management and a section of university staff in an effort to iron out the impasse that has engulfed the government institution in the recent past.
The meeting follows a number of petitions from the guild leadership and members of the academic staff, who on May 2, laid down their tools demanding that the Vice Chancellor Prof. Celestine Obua be retired in public interest and the University Secretary Melchior Byaruhanga steps aside as investigations into the mismanagement of university funds go on.
The committee included Hon. Joseph Ssewungu, Hon. Allan Ssewanyana, Hon. Nathan Itungo, Hon. Sheila Mwine and Hon. Moses Kasibante led by Hon. Jacob Richards Opolot, Member of Parliament for Pallisa County,
The meeting attended by council members, academic staff, and representatives of staff unions, all deputy vice-chancellors including embattled Vice Chancellor Prof. Obua started at around 10; 30 am at Kihumuro main campus.
However, none members and the media were later told to move out before they could divulge into details of the discussion.
A source that attended the meeting told www.mknewslink.com that it was a heated debate as members of staff told the MPs that Prof. Obua has mismanaged the university funds and the university council has been in bed with him, therefore they failed to address the challenges that the university was going through.
The student leadership led by Guild President Mike Katongole stormed the building but were dispersed with teargas by Police which had been deployed
Hon. Ssewungu intervened and told the Polices FFU Commander Mr. Collins Kaganzi to let them in, get them a place to sit so that the committee could talk to them too after the meeting,.
Julius Taremwa the Secretary-General of Mbarara University of Science and Technology Academic staff Association (MUSTASA)told www.mknewslink.com that they agreed that a search for a new vice chancellor should start with immediate effect and a forensic audit carried out.
“We are happy that some of our demands have been addressed like the forensic audit which is going to be done by the office of the Auditor General and the search committee which had been frustrated by the incumbent will also start the process. The committee asked us to suspend the strike but we told them we are a small number and we cannot decide before consultations,” said Taremwa.
Taremwa said MUSTASA will have a General Assembly today at 2 pm so that all members get informed of the resolutions passed in the meeting.
“If they find they are convincing enough to suspend the strike we shall do so and the students plus lecturers will come back to the lecture rooms,” Taremwa said.
However, the student leaders strongly rejected the move to have exams on Monday noting that they cannot have exams without a timetable.
They claimed that all facilities including the library have been closed, the university system was shut down so they could not access examination cards, dont have their marks for course work, have not been revising and put a condition that the period be extended for at least one week then each student be paid shs15, 000 every day as compensation.
www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website