Inside the MISR Investigation Report, Stella Nyanzi’s Fate

The committee set up to investigate into the saga surrounding Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) at Makerere University on Monday handed over the report to the Appointments Board to take action. The report was received by the Chairperson of the Appointments Board Mr. Bruce Balaba Kabaasa whose Board will sit later this week and take action on the recommendations.

On April 22 the University Appointments Board constituted a 5 person committee to investigate issues at MISR. The committee led by Hajjati Sharifah Buzeki, mind Asistant Commissioner HRM Policies Ministry of Public Service also included; Prof. Sarah Kiguli a Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, drug Dr. Sarah Ssali a Senior Lecturer School of Women and Gender Studies, tadalafil Mr. Jude Mbabali of Uganda Law Society and Mr. Godwin Okiror an Employment Officer Makerere University.

According to Section 50 (3) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act; “The Appointments Board shall be responsible to the university council for appointment, promotion, removal from service and discipline of all officers and staff of the academic and administrative service of the university.”

The task of the committee was to; review the management of the PhD program at MISR, review how research at MISR is managed, review staff structure and the establishment and reporting hierachy. It was also supposed to investigate the disagreement between Dr. Stella Nyanzi and the Director of MISR Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, review the working conditions/environment at MISR and also review the management of financial and other resources.

Research Management

Regarding the management of research at the Institute, the committee discovered that “Prof. Stella Nyanzi was not participating in MISR sanctioned research and as a result her research projects and funds were chanelled through the Gender, Law and Sexuality Centre of the School of Law which also provided her with office space for her research assistants.”

The report recommends that all members of staff participate in MISR sanctioned research as a strategy of attracting funding for the Institute. It further states; “MISR should disseminate information on how other university staff can have their research hosted at the Institute”.

The committee also found out that Dr. Nyanzi was not involved in teaching and supervising PhD students as opposed to other staff which resulted into inadequate staffing and consequently heavy workload on the few academic staff.

“To promote the vibrancy of research and innovation, all academic research staff including Research Professors and Associate Professors should be employed on contractual terms. The terms of service should remain 5 years renewable as provided for in the University Human Resource Manual,” the committee recommended on the relationship of Research fellows to the PhD program.

The reports goes on to state; “Teaching and supervising PhD students should Be emphasized as an obligation of research fellows in all research units that have a teaching component as it is an engine to research at MISR.”

Dr. Nyanzi’s Appointment and Refusal to teach

On the appointment of Dr. Nyanzi as a permanent research fellow, the committee termed it as an ‘erronious’ action by MISR since this should be a 5 year contractual job according the Human Resources Manual 2009 Section 6.2.

The report also faults her for defying her boss’ demands to teach which contravened the terms of her employment contract that stated “the post was contractual and she would be required to perform any other related duties as may be assigned by the supervisor”

To that effect, the committee asked for the decission of the Appointments Board which confirmed Dr. Nyanzi in her service to Makerere University to be rescinded.

Financial Management

Following the investigation, it was discovered that the College of Humanities and Social Sciences under which MISR falls hadn’t been audited for the last 4 years. This, the committee said made it difficult to assess the Institute’s compliance levels but made reference to some financial irregularities cited by an audit made by ‘A.H Thakkar and Sons’ a consultancy procured by the Institute to carry out a financial review.

“The review highlighted a number of financial irregularities; Mr. Perez Arinaitwe (the University Accountant then) and other staff under his supervision were implicated,” according to the report findings.

The committee credits the centralized donor account system through which MISR receives funds for all of its activities. It however recommends that the university increases its annual allocation to MISR and also thinks of alternative ways of financing MISR in the event of decrease or withdrawal of donor funding.

Makerere University contributes only Ugshs 66M to MISR’s budget annually. It also recommends that the university’s Director of Internal Audit makes a follow up to verify the findings of the A.H Thakkar audit and compell those implicated to recover the lost funds or face disciplinaly action.


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