By Andew Irumba
Kampala: All is not well with Prof. William Bazeyo after his appointment as Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor being canceled by the high court.
Bazeyo had been appointed as the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration of Makerere University. However, Justice Musa Sekana of the Civil Division of the High Court Court agreed in his ruling with the applicant Professor Anthony Mugisha, that the Search Committee overstepped its mandate of only recommending five suitable candidates for the post. The ruling on Friday follows an application filed by Prof. Mugisha in November 2018 challenging the search process, which he contends unfairly and unlawfully denied him chance to compete for the job. The application sought a judicial review of the decisions of the University Council, Senate and the Search Committee.
Speaking after the ruling, Professor Mugisha said that “ I’m overjoyed by the ruling of a judicial review process because it presents a ray of hope for justice in the country.” On August 23rd 2018, the university council at its 143rd meeting directed the university Senate to constitute a Search Committee for the Positions of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Finance and Administration). According to their terms of reference, the search committee headed by Professor Joseph Y.T Mugisha, was to identify and propose to Senate a maximum of five (5) suitable candidates for each of the positions and present back their report in two months.
The search committee according to its November 13, 2018 report to Senate received five applications for the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Finance and Administration and shortlisted two candidates who met the set criteria for the position. The applicants were; Professor Anthony Mugisha, Professor William Bazeyo, Masaaba Napio Lama, who was kicked out because his application letter was not signed, had no PhD, no senior managerial experience and was a British. The two others, Dr Allan Katwalo Mulengani and Dr Charles Amone had their applications rejected for lack of letter of motivation and no five years of senior managerial experience, leaving two in the race. Prof. Mugisha claims that instead of recommending and or forwarding the names of the two candidates that met the criteria to the Senate, the search committee usurped the power of Senate by declaring Prof. Bazeyo as the best and only suitable candidate for the position. Prof. Bazeyo had obtained 86.42%, beating Mugisha, who according to the report, did not meet the minimum requirements and scored 58.19% below 60%, the search committee’s pass mark. But Mugisha argued he was among the best two candidates for the same position in 2013 when Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, who is the current Vice Chancellor, was appointed for the same. He said that the search committee illegally and unlawfully omitted his name from the list of the names forwarded and recommended to the University Senate with an obvious intention of fronting Bazeyo unopposed. He thus petitioned the High Court, which has since ruled in his favour, thereby throwing Bazeyo out of office. Now the Search Committee and Senate have no option but to re-advertise the position and follow the due process before recruiting a new candidate for the position.