Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba Talks about the Rot at Makerere University Business School

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba

President Gen. Museveni has stated several times that he went to the bush to fight bad governance, bad leadership, corruption and other ills in society and I believe him. The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports is a born again politician.

So its my belief that its in their best interest and the interest of government to weed out bad leadership and corruption in the top leadership positions of Makerere University Business School (MUBS); a business school that is not only supposed to serve as a role model in the region but also train the next generation of managers and leaders.

With the coming into force of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended here in referred to as the Act, government entrusted the governance and oversight of universities and other tertiary institutions like MUBS to the governing councils. As per the Act, the Council is the supreme organ of a university or tertiary institution and as such is responsible for the overall administration of the objects and functions of the institution. It therefore follows that the Chairperson of Council is the Supreme Leader of a University/ Tertiary Institution. I served a first term as Chairperson of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) Council from January 2013 to January 2017 for a term of four years. In February 2017, I was overwhelmingly re-elected to serve another term of four years as Chairperson of MUBS Council.

On 3rd August 2018, I did inform MUBS in writing that I would be away (out of the country) from 4th August to 17th August 2018. On 9th August 2018, I received an email just like other members of council from the Secretary to Council calling for a special council meeting on 14th August 2018 and the email stated that the agenda would be communicated at the meeting. Immediately after the meeting of 14th August 2018, I received a letter from the Secretary to Council that I had been recalled as a member of council and removed as Chairperson of Council of MUBS with immediate effect. It’s a shame that the Principal MUBS, who had earlier alleged that our (Chairperson of Council and Principal) working relationship was not at its best would spearhead and execute the illegal removal of the Chairperson of Council (Supreme Leader of MUBS) without following the due process of law.  I never either expected MUBS council to engage in taking kangaroo decisions. This kangaroo removal of the Chairperson of MUBS Council will form part of the legacy of the Principal (Prof. Balunywa) and it will build on the legacy of a man who recklessly destroyed the careers of his two Deputy Principals (Dr. Julius Kakuru (RIP) and Dr. Samuel Sejjaaka), several Heads of Departments and Deans including Dr. James Akampumuza and several other MUBS current and former staff.

Prof. Balunywa after being re-appointed Principal of MUBS by the President of Uganda in May 2018 feels that he is larger than life. His capture of MUBS Council is short lived and shall lead to his own downfall in the not so distant future.  I am also reminded of when MUBS was a constituent college of Makerere University and the Principal could not respect the authority of the Vice Chancellors (Prof. Ssebuwufu and Prof. Luboobi among others) and Makerere University Council. The Principal’s insubordination reached a climax in 2006 when he declared MUBS a University.

He defied all authorities including that of the National Council for Higher Education & the mother Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) up to the time when Cabinet & the President of Uganda directed him to stop calling himself a Vice Chancellor because MUBS was not a University. In December 2017, I saw his insubordination coming up again when he refused to pick calls of the Ministers, Permanent Secretary and technical staff of the MOES & started boasting about it in meetings of management and council. Yet there was a crisis at hand since Makerere University had threatened not to graduate MUBS students.  But as they say, every dog has it day.

MUBS main building

My motivation for serving on public councils/ boards is to contribute to improved governance of public institutions. As much as MUBS council has tried to make MUBS a better institution, I still strongly believe that government should set up an independent committee to look into the governance and management issues at MUBS just like it did for Makerere University. Alternatively, the Inspectorate of Government should set up a committee like the one that was set up for Kyambogo University that unearthed a lot of mismanagement and led to the termination of contracts of various members of top management. The fact is that there are still serious governance and management issues at MUBS that must be investigated and action taken on the recommendations.

The rot at MUBS that has been going on for years under the watch of the Principal (Prof. Balunywa) is mindboggling. My attempt to address some of these issues has been slowly but surely putting me on a collision path with the Principal of MUBS. These issues include but are not limited to:

  • Systemic and institutionalized corruption;
  • MUBS Council capture by Management;
  • Gross mismanagement and abuse of office;
  • Blatant contravention of Laws and Council Decisions by Management;
  • Management’s refusal to implement Council Decisions;
  • Illegal recruitments, appointments and dismissals of staff by Management;
  • Management causing financial loss to MUBS in billions of shillings annually;
  • Failure to harmonise consolidated pay and benefits with other public institutions e.g. the Principal MUBS consolidated pay is in excess of UGX 40 Million per month;
  • Some members of MUBS Management and Council being main suppliers of goods and services to MUBS using pseudo companies and coupled with collusion with suppliers;
  • MUBS Management single handedly planning, approving and overseeing projects including huge infrastructure projects worth billions of shillings without any oversight from Council; and
  • Lack of respect for authority among others.

Let me also note that having three members of parliament (Hon Evelyn Anite, Hon. Bright Rwamirama and Hon Beatrice Anywar), two of whom are Ministers of State on MUBS Council and its committees is presenting its own governance challenges.

My personal conviction is that for the good of MUBS, the above issues must be investigated and action taken. There are many people out there including myself that know about the rot at MUBS and are willing to provide evidence to pin the perpetrators.

This is a document released by Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, PhD,  in Response to MUBS Council Decision of 14th August 2018 on Chairperson of MUBS Council, dated 27th August 2018

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