By Asuman Odaka
Since Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe ascended to the top post of the Ivory tower, many disturbing policies are being passed and Ugandan are simply silent not knowing they are breeding a dictatorship in an institution that is supposed to be a centre of intellectual discourse as it trains free thinking.
This kind of patience with anti democratic behaviors is what has made dictatorship reign in this country for 33 years and still counting.
Back to Nawangwe led Makerere, I have read in the Sunday Monitor
of 23rd Dec. 2018 about the bylaws they have passed. The one that
disturbingly touched me the most is that any staff charged in court is supposed
to be summarily dismissed.
First, I hope this will not go unchallenged in the courts of law because its defeats law, fact and even mere common sense.
Our laws are very clear, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.
For public servants who are charged in courts, they are just interdicted and supposed to be placed under half pay until prosecution proves its case beyond reasonable doubt.
In as far as law is concerned, many legal provisions can be quoted but let me only use Article 2(2) of 1995 Constitution. “If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provision of this constitution, the constitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
So how can the noble institutions want to think that repugnant rules should stand in the face of the fore mentioned constitutional article?
In regard of common sense, for example, Dr. Stella Nyanzi who we all know is prisoner of conscience wins this case or the persecution fails to prove her guilty, what will MUK do, isn’t this how billions of taxpayers’ money is going to paying legal costs and damages because of people whose decision are not backed by law but intended to prove to the political godfather that they are working?
What Makerere is doing is dispensing justice by process which is unconstitutional according our laws.
Therefore, this punishment before ruling must be resisted before it takes root in our daily lives. Because if this happens in Makerere, am sure other institutions are going to copy it into their institutional rules and before we know it, it’s law.
We know this so called bylaws were targeting Dr. Stella Nyanzi, majority are only collateral. Stella is a political prisoner; it’s therefore unfortunate for Makarere to allow be part of institutions being used to fight political wars. History will record that, “it was during Prof. Nawangwe who we all had hope in that, even Makerere could not defend basic right.”
Since subjudice relates to merits of the matter in court, I don’t really know if Makerere cannot be accused of subjudice since it has already found merit in the cases of those charged and has convicted them ahead of court.
I wish to appeal to the Uganda Law Society, Justice Centre, Uganda Human Rights Commission and other mindful organizations to pay keen attention to this injustice and abuse of basic rights and rule of law in our country.
Like late Lucky Dube asked, “Is it better to be a well fed slave or a hungry free man?”
The writer is an
activist from Tororo Municipality