Over 3,000 students at Buganda Kingdom-owned Muteesa I Royal University (MRU) are stranded after their lecturers yesterday went on a sit down strike over pay.
The lecturers, who are demanding salary arrears of four months, accuse the university administration of mistreating staff in several other ways such as improper termination, poor sanitation at the university, lack of teaching materials and disrespect.
They have also vowed not to return to work until the Vice Chancellor (VC), Dr Arthur Sserwanga, whom they accuse of orchestrating the problems at the institution, resigns.
“MRU council has given a lot of power to its vice chancellor to be the jury and executioner. This is why the council has failed to appraise him using the performance indicators. We suggest he resigns,” part of the lecturers’ 18-page petition reads in parts.
The lecturers also said the system used to upload student marks and generating pay slips is outdated and does not benefit a university.
“Staff has lost credit worthiness and there is no personal development because of uncertainties in cash flows. Very low salaries between the teaching staff and very high salaries for top managers. Such a situation cannot move the university to the next level. Salaries of staff at MRU are not matching with the cost of living, no chance of development,” the petition adds.
Dr Twaha Kawaase, the kingdom’s education minister, could not answer our repeated calls while the Vice Chancellor, Mr. Sserwanga, said he was meeting the affected staff and he would get to us later.
The kingdom minister for information, Mr. Noah Kiyimba, said the university council is currently engaged in meetings with staff and students to solve the impasse.
“The university council convened and the outcomes will be communicated. Students need to stay calm. Challenges tend to hit institutions during infancy but all will be sorted, if claims are true,” Mr. Kiyimba said.
Muteesa I Royal University was accredited by the Uganda National Council for Higher Education in 2007.
Dr Sserwanga is the fourth vice chancellor after Professor Munnakukaama, Professor Elisha Ssemakula and Professor Kigongo Bukenya.
Dr Sserwanga was appointed in September 2014.