Makerere Staff Challenge Innocent Kihika’s Appointments Board Nomination

Makerere University Joint Staff Associations are challenging the nomination of Innocent Kihika as the Uganda Law Society-ULS representative to the University Appointments Board.

Kihika was nominated by the Uganda Law Society President Benard Oundo following a request by University Secretary Yusuf Kiranda to nominate a representative of the Uganda Law Society to the Appointments Board early this year. The position was previously occupied by Jude Mbabali.

Initially, Mbabali raised a red flag saying his four-year term of office given to him by the former President of the law society Simon Peter Kinobe had not elapsed. However, Civil Division Judge Musa Sekaana ruled that Kinobe had erred to nominate a member to sit on the appointments board whose term was left with five months to expire.

But the joint staff associations including Makerere University Academic Staff Association, Makerere Administrative Staff Association, and the National Union of Education Institutions have also challenged the nomination citing inadequacies in handling the Appointments Board’s previous matters.

Kihika was previously appointed to work on a short-term as a replacement for Kiryowa Kiwanuka who had been appointed Attorney General. But the joint staff Associations argue that his candidacy was not considered for a long-term position due to perceived inconsistency.

The staff argued that during his short-term tenure, Kihika was part of several wrong decisions made by the appointment’s board. They cited a meeting which he chaired and summarily dismissed the Director of Legal Affairs and the Director of Human Resources contrary to the Employment Act (2006) and the Human Resource Manual.

Their argument on this stems from the fact that the University Staff Appeals tribunal later found the decision of the Appointment Board was irregular and ruled that these officers should be reinstated.

“As a lawyer, he knew that summary dismissal of an employee without due process, is illegal, but went ahead and endorse the illegal dismissals. If he did not know then he is an incompetent layer to represent the ULS on the University Appointments Board of Makerere University’s status.” reads part of the letter addressed to Oundo.

They also argue that Kihika has often ill-advised the University on legal matters citing the case where the Director of Legal Affairs had advised the University management to settle the matter of Mubale Wcliff and 59 others Vs Makerere University former employees who had sued the University, out of court and work on a compensation of about 250 million Shillings.

However, the staffs argue that Kihika refused to implement the agreed position alleging wrong legal advice by the Director of Legal Affairs which left the matters to be concluded before courts of law. Eventually, the Industrial court ruled against the University and set the compensation at 700 million Shillings.

It is from this and many other irregularities that the staff resolved to reject the nomination of Innocent Kihika to the appointments Board, and appealed to their staff Associations representatives to object to and not attend his swearing-in and inauguration.

The Staff Association also rejected Jude Mbabali saying that he cannot equally be a good nominee to represent the law society. Their contention is rooted in Mbabali’s alleged poor performance while representing the Uganda Law Society during the previous term of the Appointments Board.

“This is because he was part of the 690th meeting of the board held on July 6, which approved that Management should identify an employee of Makerere University to sue the Makerere University Staff Tribunal. Mbabali should have highlighted, and rejected this illegal scheme, and even reported to the ULS that he represented at that time,” reads part of their letter

The Joint Staff Associations concluded by requesting the Uganda Law Society to always exercise a high level of due diligence while nominating representatives to the Appointments Board.

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