Makerere University has suspended an associate professor, who recently led a doctoral student in seeking the intervention of Education minister and First Lady, Ms Janet Museveni.
Dr. Jude Ssempebwa, a lecturer at Makerere University, has been suspended by Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe for seeking the intervention of the country’s First Lady in a dispute with his superiors.
According to Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Dr Ssempebwa ignored several warnings to desist from actions that “disrupt the university’s activities, undermine its administration and bring it into disrepute”
In order to ensure safety of members of the University Community, especially at the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), and to protect the reputation of the university from your alleged violent, anti-social and disruptive behavior, I hereby interdict you from university service with immediate effect,Prof Nawangwe said
Dr Ssempebwa and his former PhD supervisee, Mr Peter Ntale, have twice sought the intervention of Ms Museveni over delays by CEES administrators to process the student’s thesis defence and graduation.
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Dr. Ssempebwa claims that he has been subjected to a relentless witch-hunt, malice, discrimination and defamation by his dean and principal. He also alleges that he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a previous investigation by the vice-chancellor but received another warning letter without knowing what he did wrong
In the letter to Dr Magara, the educationist cited Prof Anthony Mugagga, the principal of CEES, who on February 21 wrote a terse memo warning Ssempebwa against alleged insubordination and abusive behaviour.
The suspension of Dr Ssempebwa highlights the challenges faced by academics in Uganda who are often subjected to harassment and intimidation by their superiors for speaking out against corruption and other forms of malpractice in universities
The case also underscores the need for universities to have clear policies on academic freedom and protection for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing within their institutions