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    Ministry Of Education Speaks Out On Allegations That Schools’ First Term Will Commence On The 8th May…

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    School going children (Courtesy photo)

    The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has refuted claims that the school’s First Term will commence on the 8th May.

    In a clarification sent to all learner and education stakeholders, the ministry said, “The Ministry of Education and Sports has learned of a statement circulating on social media, purportedly made by the Hon. Minister of Education and Sports.

    The message states that the First Term will commence on the 8th of May this year. The writer further advises schools to cancel all leavers’ parties in order not to distract students and adds that UNEB and Entry Level exams will be based on Pre Entry Examinations.

    This, therefore, is to state in clear terms that the Ministry has not issued such a statement.”

    They add, “All that this statement contains is baseless and misleading. This message must, therefore, be dismissed with contempt. The Ministry has structures through which decisions are made.

    In due course, the Hon. Minister of Education and Sports will communicate to our learners and all Education stakeholders what the next steps will be in view of the Pronouncement made by His Excellency the President to extend the lockdown and curfew period by 21 days on the 14th April 2020.”

    “We assure the public that you will be kept informed of any and all developments at the Ministry with regard to the opening dates for schools, Education Institutions and the set dates for National Examinations.

    In the meantime, we call upon our learners to continue studying hard while helping with household chores and physical activity at home. We also remind all our learners to constantly adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health,” they noted.

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    EDUCATION

    Fight For Gulu University Top Leadership Positions Deepens, Faculty Of Law Dean Dr. Shadat Rushes To Court Over His Dismissal…

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    Gulu University Dean Faculty of Law Dr. Shadat Mohmeded (inset top R) and the VC Professor George Openjuru (inset bottom R)

    The fight within the top leadership at Gulu University has deepened after Dr. Shadat Mutyaba Ssemakula Mohmeded the Dean Faculty of Law rushed to the High Court challenging his dismissal.

    In his affidavit, Dr. Shadat Mutyaba told Court that the university top management acted in blatant disregard of his fundamental rights with apparent bias, trickery and double prejudice against him.

    He explained that his troubles with the university leadership started in October 2023 when David Obol Otori the University Secretary served him a letter asking him to attend a top management meeting on 25th October 2023.

    He added that on the set date, some members of the University Management Committee informed him that they are in another meeting with Professor George Openjuru the University Vice Chancellor.

    However, on the same day in the evening, Obol summoned him for the meeting at 3pm.

    When he asked why he was summoned, Obol told him that he will get to know the charges against him during the meeting.

    When the meeting sat, it was chaired by the VC Prof. Openjuru, others in the meeting were; Associate professor David Okello Owiny, the Deputy Vice Chancellor; John Nyeko University the Bursar; Dr. Jerry Bagaya, Academic Registrar; Perez Matsiko, Chief ICT; Asaf Adebua Chief Planning and Development; Omar Moses Legal Officer; Agnes Oliver Ator Senior Human Resource and Hebert Manana who stood in for the University Librarian.

    During the meeting, Dr. Shadat Mutyaba said that he asked the Vice Chancellor why he commissioned John Okello to investigate him and compel him to resign.

    The VC Prof. Openjuru declined to answer his question but Obol protested Dr. Shadat Mutyaba’s question insisting that his question was diversionary, and that the meeting should proceed and the VC should continue questioning him.

    He claimed that when he was done questioning him, the Vice Chancellor directed other members in the meeting to also ask him questions including him clarifying on the alleged inconsistencies in regards to the names on his documents.

    Because of the many questions that were being fired at him, he reached a point when he informed the meeting that he was fatigued and stepped out for a break.

    Shadat said that when the meeting resumed, the Vice Chancellor informed him that there were further questions which needed explanation but they didn’t have time.

    He was told that the University top management will communicate to him later.

    He divulged that on 27th October 2023, he received a letter from the Office of the University Secretary informing him of more Top Management questions which required answers. He directed his lawyers on 3rd November 2023 to file a request for extension of time which was sent to the University Secretary through email and also physically.

    Dr. Shadat explained that on 10th November, 2023, the University Secretary communicated to him that he had not replied within the required seven days.

    He however allowed him to submit more information concerning his defense which he protested through his lawyer.

    He was directed to appear before the University Appointment Board on 7th December, 2023.

    On December 1st 2023, the University Secretary through a WhatsApp message told him that he had failed to respond to the University queries and on 8th of the same month, he attended the Appointment board where he was kept waiting until 8.00pm in the company of his lawyer Nasser Badiru Higenyi.

    “That on 9th December 2023, I was called by the Registrar of Records through my mobile to check my email, which I did on Saturday and I found the interdiction letter. Later on, I found the interdiction letter on the Gulu University Academic Staff Association (GUASA), WhatsApp group, the independent online and observer publication.  On 24th January 2024, I received a letter to appear before the Appointments Board,” Shadat’s affidavit reads in parts.

    He insists that the University top management sealed his fate when it was not duly constituted either under the Human Resources Manual or the University and other Tertiary institutions Act.

    He added that he was not given the investigation report which was presented to the Appointment Board to decide his fate since to the best of his knowledge, the meeting was null and void.

    He told Court that University Officials acted in a malicious and scandalous manner against him by subjecting him to grave injustice, mental anguish, deprived his self-esteem and career direction for which he prayed that Gulu University is found vicarious liable in general damages.

    Dr. Shadat further produced evidence showing that his academic record is very clean and that he is ready to produce all the persons he studied with from primary school to university in England.

    He narrated that he obtained his Master of Law at Kingston University and PhD from Brunel University all in London.

    His legal documents were confirmed by England’s Solictor’s Regulation Authority of England and Wales in July 2020.

    He explained that when he came back into the country, he went to the National Council for Higher Education to certify his academic papers. He then presented them to Gulu University before he was given a job.

    He added that he is the only person who went to the National Council for Higher Education to certify the academic papers he obtained from abroad. Other staff including those on the university top management didn’t bother.

    It is on these grounds that he pleaded with the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to pick interest into the matter.

    He alleged that his troubles started when he hosted the end of year Law Dinner at the university which was graced by; Supreme Court Justice Mike Chibita, Justice and Constitutional affairs minister Norbert Mao, Archbishop John Baptist Odama and other government and cultural dignitaries.

    “From that point onwards, the university Vice Chancellor and other top university management officials started seeing me as a threat. They have been fighting me because of my tribe and religion,” Dr. Shadat said.

    He added that for some time now, he has been getting death threats from unknown people who have been trailing him in a Toyota Hiace.

    He even reported the matter to police and other security agencies.

    He further accused the university Vice Chancellor and the university secretary of having a malicious agenda to character assassinate him through staging fabricated accusations including giving marks after having sex with university girls.

    He pleaded with the first lady, who is also the Minister of Education and sports Janet Kataha Museveni to intervene basing on Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s legal opinion given that he was even subjected to the university Appointment Board illegally.

    The University has not yet filed their defense.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    EDUCATION

    Gulu University Law Graduates In Fear Of Losing Their Degrees After Faculty Head Is Interdicted On Tribal Grounds…

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    David Obol Otori (L), Dr. Shadat Mutyaba Ssemakula (C) and Prof. Openjur (R)

    Gulu university graduates from 2016 are in fear of losing their degrees after the faculty head was interdicted on alleged tribal grounds.

    On December 8, 2023 David Obol Otori, the Gulu University Secretary wrote to Dr. Shadat Mutyaba Ssemakula Mohmeded, the Dean Faculty of Law interdicting him while the top university management proceeds with investigations into his academic papers and other personal information.

    Otori claims that there were changes in names particularly on Dr. Shadat’s Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) and Diploma in Laws documents.

    He put him to task to provide substantive evidence showing that they were legally completed.

    However, theGrapevine has learnt that there is a section of concerned citizens who are set to petition Prof. Dr. Eli Katunguka- Rwakishaya the chairperson of National Council for High Education asking him to force Gulu University to recall all law degrees awarded to graduates during the tenure of Dr. Shadat.

    One of the persons who petitioned Prof. Katunguka said that a person who lacks the required academic papers cannot supervise and pass graduates because he lacks the expertise and knowledge to do so.

    “The Dean of a faculty is a very important person because he or she is responsible for overseeing the functioning of the Faculty, mentoring and supporting faculty members, and attracting suitable persons to teach at the Faculty. The Dean is expected to lead the process of curriculum and pedagogy review at the Faculty. The Dean should enrich interaction and professional experience of faculty members. So, the degrees of Gulu University graduates are questionable,” a petitioner said.

    Gulu University Vice Chancellor Prof. George Openjuru Ladaah told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Thursday that the University realized the inconsistencies in Shadat papers during a recent validation exercise for all staff.

    He added that they hadn’t paid much attention to the accused’s academic documents since joining the University in 2016 until recently when he was asked to provide certified copies and also offer more clarification on the discrepancies detected.

    When contacted, Dr. Shadat said, “I was written to, with a week’s notice to appear before the appointment board. I sat for 7hrs, and when I was called up, they just apologized before my lawyers and myself,” he said.

    He added Dan Norrach Odongo who was the chairman of the meeting told him that he will be called the next day to present his case.

    Unfortunately, he instead got an interdiction letter on that very day at 7:30pm.

    Dr. Shadat insists that the university secretary didn’t have jurisdiction to write to him the interdiction letter since the matter has already been referred to the appointment board which has never sat to listen to the complaints against him.

    He explained to theGrapevine that his academic record is very clean and that he is ready to produce all the persons he studied with from primary school to university in England.

    He revealed that he started his education from Kisozi Ranches primary school where he studied from up to primary four.

    He later join Bwara Primary School in Masaka district and the school confirmed that he sat his Primary Leaving Education (PLE).

    Among the pupils he study with is celebrated NBS Television news anchor Rukh- Shana Namuyimba Kitaka, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence(CMI) boss Dean Kaare, Adam Sendegeya and others.

    After primary, he joined Gombe Secondary School and his headmaster was Hajji Lubega Waggwa.

    He sat for his O-Level at Kawempe Muslim Secondary School and his headmaster was Hajji Matovu.

    Among the students he studied with is Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) lawyer Musa Kabega, High Court judge Faruk Lubega among others.

    He attended his A-Level at Kibibi Secondary School and among his Old boys is Nasser Basajjabalaba a city businessman, Abdru Kayongo and others.

    After A-Level, he traveled to England for further studies and obtained his Bachelor of Law from Kingston University, he did a Diploma course as a Solicitor and qualified as a barrister and started practicing law in England.

    He obtained a Master of Law at Kingston university and PhD from Brunel University all in London.

    His legal documents were confirmed by England’s Solictor’s Regulation Authority of England and Wales in July 2020.

    He explained that when he came back, he went to the National Council for Higher Education to certify his academic papers which was done.

    He then presented them to Gulu University before he was given a job.

    He added that he is the only person who went to the National Council for Higher Education to certify the academic papers he obtained from abroad.

    Other staff including university top management didn’t bother. It is on these grounds that he pleaded with the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to pick interest into the matter.

    He claimed that his troubles started when he hosted the end of year Law Dinner at the university which was graced by; Supreme Court Justice Mike Chibita, Justice and Constitutional affairs minister Norbert Mao, Archbishop John Baptist Odama and other government and cultural dignitaries.

    “From that point, the university Vice Chancellor and other top university management started thinking that I was threatening to take over their offices which is not true. They have been fighting me because of my tribe and religion,” Dr. Shadat said.

    He added that for some time now, he has been getting death threats from unknown people who have been trailing him in a Toyota Hiace.

    He reported the matter to police and other security agencies.

    He accused the university Vice Chancellor and the university secretary of having a malicious agenda to character assassinate him through staging fabricated accusations including giving marks after having sex with university girls.

    He pleaded with the first lady, who is also the Minister of Education and sports, to intervene in his matter so that he receives justice because he is also a Ugandan.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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    EDUCATION

    How Father Lost Battle To Reverse Suspension Slapped On Daughter Found Distributing Marijuana At Peter’s Naalya SSS…

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    Justice Musa Ssekaana the head of the Civil Division of the High Court has dismissed with costs a suit filed by a female student against St Peter’s Naalya Senior Secondary School for suspending her on allegations of distributing marijuana and other deadly drugs at the school premises.

    Tracy Natukunda Bamanya, a senior six candidate through her lawyers of M/s TM Kayemba Advocates filed a suit seeking for Court’s declarations that she was illegally suspended from the said school.

    She further wanted a permanent injunction stopping the school and its servants, agents from enforcing the decision to prevent her from conducting any further hearing arising out of the impugned indefinite suspension and preventing her from reporting back to the school for third term, attending classes, siting for mocks, tests, and other examinations.

    She was also seeking for a mandamus order directing the school to immediately reinstate her admission status till conclusion of her Uganda Advanced Certificate Examination Level.

    She was supported by the affidavit of her father Edward Mwesigwa Bamanya who denied all the allegations placed on her daughter that she is very indiscipline and always breaches the school rules and regulations.

    However, the school opposed the suit through the affidavit sworn by John Katongole the Headmaster of the school.

    Katongole pined Natukunda that during all her time at the school, she has always been indiscipline and disobedient to the rules set by the school.

    He gave an example that in the first term of the 2022 academic year, she was found in possession of marijuana and a matchbox which is an offence under Rule 14 of the school.

    Guided by the school’s lawyers of MMAKS Advocates, Katongole told Court that the offence Natukunda committed according to the school’s Rules is punishable by an indefinite suspension.

    When she was questioned by the school’s teachers concerning these illicit items and asked to record a statement, she admitted in her own statement of committing the offences in the presences of her parents.

    He explained to the Court that she continued with the habit and an investigation was carried out involving questioning of other students who revealed that Natukunda had been distributing marijuana cookies and marijuana for smoking to fellow students.

    The school management concluded the investigations and then summoned her and her parents to the school to present the findings to them.

    Due to the gravity of the offences committed, the parents were summoned to the school disciplinary committee and the disciplinary committee informed them with their daughter that she had grossly violated the school rules and the punishment under the rules was indefinite suspension.

    The disciplinary committee decided to not immediately enforce the indefinite suspension. They allowed her a leave of absence of five days after her parents pleaded with the school for time to ensure their daughter is able to change.

    Katongole told Court that Natukunda chose to abuse the discretion that had been exercised by the disciplinary committee by attacking the students who implicated her during the disciplinary committee hearing and continued to harass other students at the school.

    This time, the school had no option but to enforce the decision of the disciplinary committee and to indefinitely suspend her because she posed a danger to the lives and health of other students.

    Katongole insisted that she was accorded a fair hearing at all material times and was given the opportunity to make her representation on multiple occasions both in writing and later on before the disciplinary committee.

    The decision- making process was fairly conducted and the management of the school gave her numerous opportunities to reform.

    In his judgment, Justice Ssekaana agreed with the school.

    Ssekaana explained that Court should look beyond the narrow question of whether the decision was taken in a procedurally improper manner, to a question of whether a decision properly taken would have been any different or would have benefited Natukunda.

    He added that Natukunda thought that she should have been given a separate hearing setting out the offence for which she was being indefinitely suspended after she had been allowed back in school in March 2022.

    “The applicant was justifiably suspended indefinitely without a hearing due to the nature of the alleged offence of breaching the school rules and regulations. The applicant was found to be involved in using drugs- cannabis, weed cookies and specifically being a supplier in the school.  The actions of the applicant did not only constitute a breach of school rules and regulations but it is also a criminal offence under the Penal Code,” Justice Ssekaana stated.

    He added that the school management made the decision of suspending Natukunda to protect the rest of the students from her in the interest of broader public interest to the school community promptly.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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