Ruth Iteu Eyoku has been elected to represent the Senior Administrative Staff on the Makerere University Council. Iteu is a Senior Registrar in the ICT unit of the Academic Registrar’s department at Makerere University and according to Uganda Radio Network she was declared winner with 182 votes against Dr Euzobia Baine Mugisha’s 82. This is out of the overall 267 ballots cast. The election was presided over by Andrew Abunyang, the institution’s Human Resources Director and the venue was the Senior Common Room at Makerere Main Building.
Her sweeping victory was perceived and construed by many Makerere watchers as a defeat for Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe who stands accused of trying to frustrate the outspoken, assertive and uncompromising Iteu from becoming Council member. In her battles against the Nawangwe-led top management, Iteu has always had full backing of her senior administrators operating under an association called MASA. In fact, the first time Iteu won the slot, the election was cancelled in what many construed to be an act of overt sabotage by the Nawangwe-led top management of the University. The outgoing Dr Euzobia Baine, who is also the acting University Director for Gender Mainstreaming is believed to have been supported by the institution’s top management while Iteu was staff’s choice. This election was repeated following a petition to the Vice-Chancellor from Vincent Abigaba, the former association chairperson challenging the procedure in electing the new MASA association leaders.
The staff on 28th November 2018 voted Iteu overwhelmingly after garnering 98 votes beating her main challenger Dr Euzobia Baine who obtained 41 votes. Also in the race was George Turyamureeba who obtained 38 votes. Following the petition, the VC Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe blocked Iteu from attending the inaugural University Council session claiming there was a petition challenging her election in the previous MASA polling exercise. Nawangwe then directed the association to conduct fresh elections to choose another council representative, a directive that the association rejected, advising him to stop meddling in staff association matters. The Vice Chancellor responded by suspending two senior Administrative Staff Association – MASA leaders Bennet Magara (the newly elected chairperson) and his General Secretary Joseph Kalema for allegedly inciting staff to disrupt University activities. The suspensions were effected on 21st December 2018. However, this later caused prolonged stalemate at Makerere until the new University Council chairperson Lorna Magara intervened promising to handle the staff grievances expeditiously. Following the University Council’s advice, the administrative staff accepted to repeat the election.
Iteu said she will work towards the unity of administrative staff. She also said that she will spearhead the campaign to revamp the senior staff association as well as resolve the internal conflicts. Isaac Kimeze Ssemakadde, the staff lawyer said Iteu has been known across the University community as an uncompromising administrator. He observes that the University management had rejected her initially for fear of her incorruptible character. Ssemakadde adds that the overwhelming support by senior administrative staff to Iteu signifies the renewal of her mandate, renewed confidence in the new University Council and the return to normalcy at the University. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us 0703164755.