BY SWAGA FARAJ KAMOGA
Makerere University has finally reinstated Elias Nuwagaba, the former personal assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. Nuwagaba had spent 17 months out of university service following his dismissal on May 23rd, 2018 by the University Appointments Board for alleged extortion and bribery.
However, the university Human Resource Director, Richard Mugisha reinstated Nuwagaba in a September 10th, 2019 letter and deployed him as the Chief Custodian of the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology – CEDAT. He says the decision to reinstate Nuwagaba stems from the 602 and 604 University Appointments Board meetings held on July 3rd and August 19th that agreed that the university tribunal orders be implemented.
The decision to sack Nuwagaba was reached in the 565th meeting of the Appointments Board, which noted that while employed as the Chief Custodian of the Main Building, the officer solicited and accepted money from M/S Just Clean It Ltd in 2016, which brought injury and disrepute to the image of the university.
They also noted that while employed in the capacity of Personal Assistant to Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in his capacity as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Nuwagaba evicted occupants of the Edge House No. 37 without authorisation, which was injurious to the image of the institution contrary to Section 5.7 (8) of the HR Manual.
In 2018, Uganda Radio Network published a story in which Nuwagaba accused Bruce Balaba Kabaasa, the former Chairperson of the Appointments Board for using the Main Hall for more than five years without paying rent, yet the facility is meant to be rented out at Shillings 2 million per day.
The accusations were part of a dossier he sent to the staff webmail accusing top university managers of defrauding the institution and fabricating cases against him after exposing some of the irregularities they are involved in. It is these issues that landed him a dismissal.
Following his appeal to the Staff Appeals Tribunal against the decision, the Tribunal set aside the decision in its ruling of April 16th and directed his reinstatement to his former position a Chief Custodian.
However, instead of reinstating him, the university assigned his residential House No. 179 Kasubi View at the university to the Peace Centre under the Department of Religion and Peace Studies and attempted to evict him. On August 16, 2019, university officials attempted to evict Nuwagaba from the university house when they threw his property out and disconnected both power and water from the premises.
Nuwagaba has since through his lawyers Rwaganika & Baku Advocates sought UGX 120m compensation for property loss, and special damages of lost items during the attempted eviction.