Professor cited in 'fake' PhD shortlisted for Makerere Chancellor job

Education
Professor cited in 'fake' PhD shortlisted for Makerere Chancellor job
Prof William Bazeyo

EXCLUSIVE | Makerere University is considering its former deputy head who resigned under a cloud following allegations of holding a 'fake' PhD degree as the new Chancellor.

Prof William Bazeyo has been interviewed by the search committee and recommended to the Council.

In 2020, Bazeyo suddenly stepped down while he was the acting vice-chancellor for finance and administration and seeking to be the substantive bearer of the same office.

While the University Council chairperson, Dr Lorna Magara, rubbished queries that Bazeyo had been shortlisted for the position, highly placed sources at Makerere confirmed that he was among those in the running for the titular job.

"The Search Committee shortlisted four candidates and presented three to Council, including Bazeyo," a source said in confidence.

"The Council is required to submit two names to the Visitor for him to appoint one of them."

The Visitor is the Head of State who, according to Article 30 of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, is mandated to appoint the Chancellor upon the recommendation of the Council.

"The information have is that they have recommended Bazeyo for the appointment," another source said.

The Nile Post could not independently confirm the veracity of the claims. Dr Magara referred this news site to the University Secretary, Yusuf Kirunda, who said he was constrained to comment on the matter.

"The decision-making process on the matter is ongoing, for which reason I am unable to comment," he said. "The Council communicates its decisions formally."

The chancellor is the titular head of a university who presides over at all ceremonial assemblies of the institution and confers degrees and other academic titles and distinctions.

"The person with a counterfeit degree will now be the one to award all of Makerere's degrees," said another source at the university who asked for confidentiality because of their position.

Makerere University has started the search for a new chancellor last December. The new chancellor will replace Prof Ezra Suruma, whose term expired at the end of last year.

“The position does not attract a salary. However, the successful candidate will be facilitated whenever they attend to official duties and is entitled to a retainer allowance at a rate approved by the University Council,” the University Secretary said on December 11 as it announced the search.

Former Finance and Planning minister Suruma had been chancellor for eight years, having been appointed in 2016, and reappointed in December 2019.

Resignation

In 2020, Prof William Bazeyo was the top candidate for the position of Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration while also acting in the role when two former students asked that he be ejected from the race due to lack of credible qualifications.

Sam Ninsiima and Amos Welikhe, through their lawyer Ms Monica Birungi, of Birungi, Nalunkuma and Company Advocates, contended that Bazeyo had acquired his PhD from an institution that is not accredited.

Their claim was corroborated by the National Council for Higher Education directorate of quality assurance and accreditation, which stated that the Atlantic International University where Prof Bazeyo attained his PhD, was not accredited.

At the time, Counsel Birungi said the first requirement for deputy vice-chancellor job is a PhD, which Prof Bazeyo did have owing to his unrecognised doctorate degree.

Bazeyo suddenly stepped down from his acting position and also pulled out of the race for substantive appointment.

"I am writing to inform you that today, October 8, I have submitted my resignation from the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration to the appointing authority," he wrote at the time.

"I have done this for personal and family reasons and it takes immediate effect. I have also withdrawn my candidature from the ongoing search process for the substantive position of DVCF&A."

The latest bounce-back attempt leaves Makerere in a spot of bother. It remains unclear if Prof Bazeyo cleared his contested doctorate degree status as officials at the university are not willing to comment on the matter.

However, sources claimed that the search committee had conducted the interviews behind the curtains, targeting the day of the last graduation in February "to avoid attention to what they were working on".

"We were hoping that, in line with tradition, a shortlist would come out and we question his being shortlisted...everything has been done quietly, and the process is nearing finalisation," said a source, who went as far as claiming that the education requirement had been "lowered to a bachelors degree to accommodate him [Bazeyo."

In the job advert, Makerere called for candidates with a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a recognised higher institution of learning with high integrity and good public relations.

At the time Bazeyo was forced to step down in 2020, a splash of his accomplishment was published in the dailies, with one saying he had won Makerere "unprecedented Shs185 bullion" in a science grant.

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