Two top officials at Makerere University have gone to the Constitutional court to challenge a High court decision that stopped their re-appointment.
The Observer has learnt that Academic Registrar Alfred Masikye Namoah and University Secretary David Muhwezi Kahundha filed their petition on Monday. Justice Lydia Mugambe, on November 15, halted the re-appointment of the two senior officials, after two administrative staff, Fatumah Nakatudde and Euzobia Naine petitioned her court, citing procedural flaws.
However, in their petition Namoah and Kahundha asked the Constitutional court to quash Mugambe’s order on grounds that she violated their rights.
“The acts and conduct of Justice Lydia Mugambe of issuing an injunction against the process of re-appointing the petitioners [Kahundha and Namoah] to the offices of university secretary and academic registrar respectively without according the petitioners a hearing undermines their right to engage in gainful employment as university secretary and academic registrar,” they argue.
Through Muwema and Company Aocates and solicitors they say they diligently served in their respective offices and dully notified Makerere university council of their interest to continue serving six months before expiry of their contracts. They contend that Justice Mugambe’s orders mean that their contracts which are due to expire today, December 31, 2014, shall not be renewed despite them being qualified and eligible for renewal.
“That the petitioners occupy key positions such as that of the university secretary who doubles as the accounting officer of the university and the academic registrar who is in charge of the academic affairs of the university and it would be disastrous to have a vacuum in their offices after December 31,” the petition partly reads.
The duo say Justice Mugambe’s orders were not only a violation of their constitutional rights but also against public interest.
“The second respondent (Makerere University) is the largest public university in Uganda with over 40,000 students that it would threaten the university security and stability and further be against public policy since it would paralyze the operations of the university by blocking operations of the university by blocking appointment of people in such sensitive positions,” they say.
In their High court petition, Nakatudde and Naine argued that senior positions at Makerere University should be aertised externally as is the established practice. They claimed the University Council at its 89th meeting, had decided that the senior positions would be aertised externally to allow fair competition with a view of attracting the best candidates for the jobs.
Accordingly, they say that in disregard of the aice of the university’s senior legal officer, the university administration embarked on a recruitment process to fill the two administrative posts through appraisal of the incumbents. Both Namoah and Kahundha were contracted in January 2010 for five years.
Source : The Observer