Makerere board ordered to hear Stella Nyanzi case afresh

Makerere board ordered to hear Stella Nyanzi case afresh
Dr. Stella Nyanzi appears at Buganda road court on April 25. Nyanzi was charged under the computer misuse act and was in the process of applying for bail. Courtesy Photo/Apophia Agiresaasi, GPJ Uganda.

The Makerere staff appeals tribunal has ordered the university appointments board to hear afresh the disciplinary case that resulted into suspension and transfer of Dr Stella Nyanzi, a research fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR).

According to the tribunal report dated October 16, a copy seen by this publication, the university appointments board has been tasked to hear the case again in 60 days.

As the appointments board hears the case afresh, the tribunal directed that Dr Nyanzi be reinstated as a research fellow at MISR. The tribunal further directed the appointments board to consider Dr Nyanzi’s application for promotion to the position of senior research fellow within sixty days.

This means the tribunal has quashed the decision of the appointments board that resulted into suspension of Dr Nyanzi and transfer from MISR.

“The decisions of the appointment board made against the appellant (Dr Stella) at its 544th meeting held on Wednesday 10th February 2017 are hereby set aside. The appointments board is hereby by directed to hear and complete the disciplinary proceeding against Dr Stella Nyanzi arising from the findings of the investigations committee set up by the appointments board to carry out in depth investigation into MISR issues within sixty (60) days from the date of this decision,” the tribunal report reads in part.

The tribunal says that at the said hearing, the party representing Makerere University shall first call witnesses to testify against Dr Nyanzi.

“The appellant shall be free to cross examine any witnesses who testify against her. Thereafter the respondent will close its case. The appellant shall then proceed to produce her witnesses, if any and the respondent’s representatives shall equally have the opportunity to cross examine the appellant’s witnesses,” the report further reads.

The tribunal is chaired by lawyer George Omunyokol. Other committee members are; ministry of public service representative Herbert Kiguli, Makerere University Academic Staff Association representatives Dr Rose Nakayi and Prof George W. Lubega; Makerere Administrative Staff Association representatives Tom Otim and Ruth Iteu Eyoku and Senate representative Dr Consolata Kabonesa.

The decision of the tribunal was informed by the fact that the appointments board did not give Dr Nyanzi a chance to defend herself and that none of the parties produced witnesses.

The tribunal ordered that Nyanzi be personally served hearing notice and if she is unavailable, the hearing notice be published in the national newspapers.

Background

Dr Nyanzi was suspended from Makerere in April 2016 after she undressed in public to protest what she called mistreatment by MISR director, Prof Mahmood Mamdani.

The university appointments board later instituted a committee chaired by Sharifah Bukenzi, an assistant commissioner for human resource management at the ministry of public service, to probe among others the disagreement between Prof Mamdani and Dr Nyanzi.

The committee among other things recommended that Dr Nyanzi be subjected to a disciplinary action. After evaluating the committee report, the appointments board on February 10, 2017 found Dr Nyanzi guilty of misconduct, confirmed a six-month suspension, recalled her from suspension and transferred her to Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at the School of Law in a bid to mitigate conflict at MISR.

It’s the decisions of this appointments board meeting that Dr Nyanzi contested through her lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde.

– URN