Six students pin Makerere lecturer for sexual harassment

Six students pin Makerere lecturer for sexual harassment
Makerere University main building. Courtesy Photo.

A report into sex for marks and sexual harassment scandal at Makerere University has implicated a lecturer of unprofessional conduct. Six of the eight female students interviewed by the Committee that investigated the scandal implicate Brian Musaga, a former Assistant lecturer in the College of Business and Management Studies (CoBAMS) for sexual harassment.

The lecturer is battling similar accusations in court. A copy of the July 25th 2016 report seen by this publication shows that, the lecturer would work until late in the night and weekends where he would invite female students to his A22 school of Statistics and Planning SSP office and make sexual advances.

“All students’ testimonies consistently indicated that Musaga worked very late hours which was further confirmed by the security guards and custodians,” reads the report. It notes that once at his office, Musaga would psychologically torture the female students and reprimand them for being there illegally before arousing them sexually to succumb to his advances.

The information that was compiled from students written submissions and oral testimonies was found to be consistent, according to the report.

“The committee noted several similarities in the testimonies regarding the modus operandi used by Musaga to sexually harass students. The committee noted that the testimonies from independent students could only be similar if they were pointing to the same thing- the truth,” reads the report.

Adding that; “the contrary would hold only if the students had been coached on what to say, but the committee did not get evidence to this effect.” During the investigations, the Committee invited Musaga to present his defense to the allegations by the students in vain, saying he would only show with his lawyer. The report notes that when Musaga finally appeared with his lawyer he threatened to sue the University for Defamation.

Only of the all the staff from the college who interfaced with the committee indicated that they had heard claims from students implicating Musaga for sexually harassing him but they didn’t present any specific evidence. The committee noted that although rumors cannot be relied on to discipline a staff member, persistent and consistent rumors were basis for investigations.

“Failure to undertake an investigation by the department, school or college was considered by the committee as a great omission,” notes the report. This publication understands that there were formal complaints about sexual harassment against Musaga dating back to November 2015. The complaints were handled at the school level, which led to his sacking in October 2015 as examinations coordinator.

“The school was unfair to the students by not undertaking an investigation of sexual harassment but instead took a lighter different direction,” the committee notes in its report. It was discovered that using his position as the examinations coordinator, Musaga, intimidated female students who had been caught in examination malpractice or failed papers by threatening that they would be dismissed from the university if they did not yield to his sexual demands.

“Threatening students with dismissal, he was misusing his authority as a lecturer and supervisor to solicit for sex and this is a basic ingredient of sexual harassment.” According to the report, Musaga appeared on July 19th 2016 with his lawyer, Robert Kayobyo to present his defense. However, his lawyer asked for adjournment, saying his client was too traumatized to appear yet he also had just received a letter to represent him.

However, the committee rejected the request, saying Musaga should have remained behind since the committee wanted to engage him not his lawyer. Musaga decided to leave with his lawyer. While the report was submitted to Makerere University Appointments Board for appropriate action, the Board Chairperson, Bruce Balaba Kabaasa, says they can’t take any action since the matter is before court.

He declined to comment on Mugasa’s contract, saying they will tackle the matter once court disposes off the matter.

The tribunal was chaired by Dr. Betty Ezati, Dean School of Education. Other members included Prof Florence Mutonyi D’ujanga, Moses Musinguzi, Goddy Muhumuza and Janet Nabukeera. The committee was among other things tasked to investigate allegations into Musaga’s case any other staff of the college and investigate allegations of sex for marks by staff and other related issues at the college.