Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe has bowed to pressure from the striking staff and accepted to hold negotiations between the two parties.
In what seemed like an apology, Nawangwe told the university staff that there is need to work together for the betterment of the university, a statement that attracted cheers from the teaching and non -teaching staff who were attending the general assembly in the University main hall on Monday afternoon.
“I am here to affirm that we as management are committed to beginning a new chapter and to a dialogue aimed at creating total harmony at the university,”Prof.Nawangwe said.
He also pledged to ensure mutual respect for all the staff at the country’s oldest university as one of the ways to preserve its pride.
In response, suspended MUASA chairperson, Dr.Deus Kamunyu said as part of efforts to create harmony, he would appear before the committee investigating him and instituted by Prof.Nawangwe.
“I will appear before it not because I want to be judged but because I know it is what I am supposed to do in a bid to create peace and for the tens of thousands of kids to go back to class,”Kamunyu said.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe however appealed to the striking staff to call it off because negotiations are going on well.
“Let us return to work because not teaching is not good for our children and the parents,”Nawangwe urged.
The humble gesture was climaxed by a hand shake and a hug between suspended MUASA chairman, Dr Deus Kamunyu and Prof Nawangwe which attracted cheers and jubilations from the audience.
To many, it seemed like a moment of reconciliation but the striking staff weren’t fooled by the hugs and handshake and in turn, they gave the University administration three days to conclude negotiations between Kamunyu and the five member committee set up to investigate him , before they return to class.
The university staff said they would only return to class after investigations have yielded fruits.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of Makerere university convocation, Dr Tanga Odoi , the man behind the hand shake between Kamunyu and Nawangwe, is now the official mediator to reconcile the two parties.
On Monday, Tanga asked the striking lecturers to honour the vice chancellors apology.
“My role has been to bring the parties who were not talking to each other together. Dialogue was needed,”Tanga said.
Kamunyu is scheduled to appear before the commit investigating his suspension today Tuesday February 5.