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Great Lakes Regional University Kanungu closed

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In her November 23, 2021 letter, Mary Jossy Nakhanda Okwakol, the Executive Director NCHE has directed Vice-Chancellor of the Great Lakes Regional University Dorothy Kabugo to close for a month to enable thorough investigations into the ownership wrangles.
Part of Great Lakes Regional University Kanungu (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)
The Great Lakes Regional University Kanungu is under lock and key on the directives of the National Council for Higher Education –NCHE due to the futile attempts to resolve the disputes among its directors. The row pits Bishop Dr. Hamlet Mbabazi Kabushenga, the Founder and Chancellor of the university against the administrators led by the director, Honest Wilkins Natukwasa.

Kabushenga founded the University in 2004. However, the funders Child to Family Community Development Organization (CHIFCOD) forced him to resign in June last year over allegations of financial impropriety. Recently, the warring parties organized parallel graduations for the same set of students drawing the attention of NCHE, which stopped the events and directed the warring parties to resolve their disputes in vain.

Now, in her November 23, 2021 letter, Mary Jossy Nakhanda Okwakol, the Executive Director NCHE has directed Vice-Chancellor of the Great Lakes Regional University Dorothy Kabugo to close for a month to enable thorough investigations into the ownership wrangles. 

“Reference is made to a meeting held on 22nd November 2021, in which we discussed a number of non-compliance issues at the university and resolved that operations of GLRU be halted in the interim, for a period of one month,” the letter reads.

The letter singles out contested ownership of the university, poor governance and management and non-compliance among other reasons for the closure of the university in line with section 5(f) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 (as amended).

 

The letter directs students to vacate the university premises by midday today (Wednesday) and only return after receiving clearance and official communication from UNCHE. The letter also requests the office of Kanungu Resident District Commissioner to provide full-time security to protect the university property.

 

Natukwas told URN that they would abide by the directives, which he said, would have a negative impact on students especially those who hail from outside Kanungu district.  Kabushenga welcomed UNCHE’s decision, saying that Natukwasa and his crew have been masquerading at his university.

In September this year, Kabushenga tendered in his resignation but made a U-turn a week later, saying that he is still the official founder and chancellor of the University.  Kabushenga stormed the university campus along Kanungu-Kihihi road Bushuura village Kirima Sub-county accompanied with unidentified people and chased away all students and staff who had arrived at the institution for the official opening. 

He argued that Natukwasa is not supposed to open the institution. He also claimed that the University Vice-Chancellor, Dorothy Kabugo had been sacked. Kabushenga revealed that he had appointed Godfrey Karabenda Tumwebaze, the Kanungu town council LC III chair as the Chairperson Board of Trustees. 

A section of the students attempted to lynch Kabushenga. On, November 4, officials from NCHE led by Innocent Mary Tumwesige Asiimwe, a technical officer visited the institution and launched investigations into the dispute. They held a closed-door meeting with Natukwasa, Kabugo, and other officials at the university premises and later also met Kabushenga in Kanungu town council.

 

Later, Kabushenga through his lawyers Alvarez Advocates issued an order demanding that Natukwasa, Dorothy Kabugo University Vice-Chancellor, Eleanor Nyamishana University Bursar, and Wensi Munyamagana, the academic registrar vacate the university premises citing trespass.  

This prompted Natukwasa to petition the High court civil division in Kampala for a temporary injunction barring Kabushenga from accessing the university premises. The matter is scheduled for hearing later today. 

Erasmus Twaruhukwa, the director in charge of Legal Services and Human Rights in the Uganda Police Force also wrote to the Director Directorate of Criminal Investigations

Department on November 10, 2021, to swiftly open a general inquiry file and

probe the fraudulent takeover of Great lakes University and other five

education institutions under CHIFCOD in Kanungu district.

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