“The recommended candidate for Principal MakCHS, has never been Chair/ Head of Department, but has been a substantive Dean (School of Medicine) for only three months, having service previously as Deputy Dean –a position that does not exist in the University Structure,” say staff of the college in their petition to council.
Blocked: Medicine Professor Damalie Nakanjako as the next Principal of College of Health Sciences
Makerere University Council has deferred the
approval of the appointment of Professor Damalie Nakanjako as the next
Principal College of Health Sciences- Uganda Radio Network (URN) has learnt.
Professor Nakanjako scored an average mark of
76.2% while her challenger, Professor Joloba scored 77.3% out of the agreed 60%
pass mark. The search committee however declined to recommend Professor Joloba
for appointment due to “…several complaints against him” despite lack of a
conclusive report on the status of the complaints and evidence of disciplinary
action against him.
However, the College staff are protesting the search
process and criteria for selection of the principal. The university council
received the staff petition protesting Prof. Nakanjako’s appointment at its special
meeting held on February 19, 2020. In their petition, the staff said they were
alienated from participating in the selection process, which they say was
strange to them as it contravenes guiding laws and principles.
They said they were not consulted throughout
the process and that the public presentations were done only as an attempt to
sugarcoat the process, after removing the academic rights of the constituent
faculty. Sections 53 and 54 of the Universities and Other
Tertiary Institutions Act (UOTIA) provides for election of a Dean or Director
of a faculty, institution or college and other academic body by its academic
staff from among its members, in line with the procedures proposed by the
senate and approved by University Council.
The same provision stipulates that; “an Academic
Staff who would have attained the age of 56 years at the closure of nominations
shall not be eligible for election as academic heads.” Relatedly, the recruitment procedure as per the
Makerere University Human Resources Manual (2009) stipulates that election of Principal/Dean/Director/Head
of Department shall be conducted as prescribed in the UOTIA.
The staff said the search committee process
applied the amendments of Makerere University Management of Constituent College
Stature 2012 in retrospect; an act they say is questionable in line with the
spirit with which the policy was made. It should be noted that Makerere University
advertised positions of Principal and Deputy Principal on September 26th,
2019 and again re-advertised the same positions on November 11th, 2019
with deadlines October 16th and November 22nd respectively.
The Council at its December 20, 2019 sitting
made amendments to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions (Management
of Constituent Colleges of Makerere University) statute 2012, guiding the
search process, after all candidates had submitted their applications. URN has
seen a copy of the January 31st 2020 Uganda Gazette where this said amendment
“The facts above leave one wondering why should
a great institution in the ranks of Makerere University amend a statute to be
used in a search process of top academic leaders one month after receiving
application from potential candidates and why gazette such a policy after the
process is completed, almost six months since the process was commenced?”
The College staff also contend that Professor
Nakanjako doesn’t have the requisite experience for the job. As per the
shortlisting tool by the search committee, one of the minimum requirements was
at least four years of managerial ability and experience in an institution of
higher learning. A person to qualify is expected to have at least been a Head
of department, Dean of School, or Deputy Principal.
“The recommended candidate for Principal MakCHS,
has never been Chair/ Head of Department, but has been a substantive Dean
(School of Medicine) for only three months, having service previously as Deputy
Dean –a position that does not exist in the University Structure,” say staff of
the college in their petition to council.
On February 12, 2020, the Senate sat to
deliberate over the qualifications of candidates selected for the positions
including the College of Health Sciences. It is during this meeting that members
punched holes in the search committee recommendation to appoint Professor
Nakanjako as head of College. Council noted that the petition had been
received late in relation to the date of the Council meeting, noting that more
time was needed to study the matters raised.
“…Council agreed to defer consideration of the
Senate recommendation of the candidate for Principal of the College of Health
Sciences pending the decision on the petition raised by staff of the College.
The said petition shall be handled within a period of two weeks,” said Lorna
Magara, the Chairperson of the Makerere University Council.
Council approved and recommended to the
Chancellor for appointment, the appointment of candidates for the positions of
Principal and Deputy Principal in other competing colleges. Those approved for
appointment include Dr. Josephine Ahikire, the Principal College of Humanities
and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Dr. Eria Hisali, Principal, College of Business
and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) and Dr. Bruno Yawe, Deputy Principal. Dr.
Moses Kajja was approved for appointment as Deputy Principal, College of Health
The search committee report shows that four of
the six candidates that expressed interest for the Principal had their
applications rejected by the search committee for various reasons. They
included incumbent Professor, Charles Ibingira, Professor Sarah Kiguli, Dr.
Josephat Byamugisha, and Professor Jacinta Opara.
For instance, the report shows that Dr. Opara
was in addition to being a non-Uganda citizen had no proof of PhD, academic
ranking and proof of academic leadership. The incumbent director Makerere University
Hospital, Dr. Byamugisha wasn’t shortlisted.
According to the report, the search team
received one recommendation letter, for his application after rejecting the
second one that was submitted on November 25, 2019. The search team also
disclosed that it couldn’t find proof of the PhDs for Professors Sarah Kiguli
and Charles Ibingira.