TOTAL CHAOS AS MAK’S EUZOBIA BAINE FACES COUP: MASA MEMBERS MOVE TO RECALL HER
By Wafula Malik
The chaos at Makerere University has escalated with support staff, uniting under NUEI, declaring support for academic staff (Muasa) members who have ganged up to demand disbandment of the University governing Council (UC). Muasa chairman Dr. Deus Muhwezi Kamunyu has written to the Education Minister Janet Museveni calling on her to disband the Wana Etyem-led council and replace it with new members. Some of the support staff members claim their reps aren’t representing them well in council and this is the same accusation Muasa is making against Dr. Sarah Ssali and Dr. Tumps Ireeta who are their two reps in UC. Perhaps inspired by the Muasa and NUEI example, some members of the Administrative Staff (uniting under Makerere Administrative Staff Association/MASA) association are demanding for a MASA general assembly during which they want to denounce Council and some of their executive members. They are also openly threatening to recall their council representative Euzobia Baine Mugisha. It’s against this background that Friday started with a heated debate on the MASA social media platforms with members calling on their chairman Vincent Abigaba to call a general assembly meeting. Abigaba maintained he wasn’t moved because after all the guys who were pushing for the meeting have no past record of active attendance of MASA meetings and other activities. The timing of all this is perhaps not the best because it’s coming at a time when Euzobia Baine who is the MASA representative in Council and appointments board barely has three months to ending her term in Council. Apparently those wanting to replace Baine, whose ascendance to council some years ago was as controversial, have already started early campaigning. And it’s coming at a time when staff are ganging up against the current council. So any efforts to push for a meeting will be viewed with suspicion that members perhaps want to use it to denounce Baine and possibly recall her from council. Abigaba, who members say is complacent because he was recently promoted to the rank of Senior Registrar at M6, was supported by Euzobia Baine who too seemed uncomfortable facing a MASA general assembly where the over 200 members could question her on grounds she hasn’t adequately sought their views for submission both in Council.
UGLY WHATSAPP WAR:
She eventually had an ugly exchange with some members including Joseph Kalema who is a fellow member of the MASA executive. The other member who had it rough with Euzobia Baine is Ruth Etou Eyoku. She too is MASA executive committee member just like Kalema. Leaked chat messages that Euzobia posted on the MASA group indicate that she shut up Kalema and Eyoku asking them to stop “evil schemes.” She questioned Eyoku, her former MASA ally, as to why they want a MASA general assembly yet there was one just last month. “Enjoy your new love with Kamunyu but don’t expect us to join you in your evil schemes,” Euzobia wrote prompting Eyoku to accuse her of bribery ideas. She described Eyoku as a very abusive lady whose wrath has been suffered by her bosses in Senate, students and fellow staff members. “Your leadership by abuse will not take anybody anywhere,” Euzobia Baine tells off Eyoku who has already started canvassing for support to replace her as Council member representing MASA. Elections for the new MASA council rep are expected in November-December this year. Whereas Euzobia, who is among those facing the IGG inquiry over questionable recruitment of staff, is still interested in keeping her post (she is eligible for one more term), her critics claim majority MASA members are backing Eyoku. Evidently, the MASA political game is already is getting dirty and it can only worsen. One of Euzobia Baine supporters spoke to us saying Eyoku is unsuitable for the MASA representation to Council.
The source, who confessed being a supporter of Baine reelection as MASA rep to Council, made reference to the circumstances under which Eyoku joined Makerere to work in Senate where she works in the transcripts office. She has worked in the Senate House for many years and the pro-Euzobia source said her (Eyoku’s) supporters have no moral authority questioning Baine for getting her son a job in Makerere because she was also recruited at a time her late father Iteu was Deputizing then Academic Registrar Hyuha Mukwanason. In an interview with our reporter at her Senate office, Eyoku vehemently denied getting the job fraudulently. She said she got her first job in the Senate as a records clerk actually after her father had left Makerere. She said his departure was so acrimonious, there is no way Mukwanason who was among those he had problems with could allow his daughter to remain working there if she had been fraudulently recruited. “I pity those people. They don’t know what they are talking about. By the time my father left this University service, they had made him so weakened there is no way he would influence his daughter getting a job here. In fact that would have been good ammunition for his adversaries to finish him off. Mr. Mukwanason, under whom I worked, was a very strict man and didn’t tolerate mediocrity. He would have expelled me immediately if I was a non-performer.” She said she came through an elaborate interview process and a one Ochodo is one of the colleagues she joined with. She advised her adversaries to get firsthand information from Ochodo regarding the rigorous process they went through to get those jobs. Available HR records show that Eyoku joined Senate in June 1996 two months after her father acrimoniously exited and was disgracefully chased from the University house when the late Tibarimbasa was the University Secretary. She says one of the senior managers who participated in the recruitment process through which she got the job was Ms Gertrude Kigonya who was renowned for being a very strict lady. Eyoku recalls that eventually she did so well and impressed Mukwanason who supported her to do the mature age entry exams which she passed so well and was admitted for the bachelor’s degree on government sponsorship. Critics maintained she is a very combative lady who one time raised dust in the Kabasa Committee (that studied salary enhancement for staff) and subsequently caused feuding between then VC Prof Ddumba Sentamu and Kabasa Bruce. She appeared before the Kabasa committee to give MASA views and in the course of her submission, she bitterly clashed with Kabasa. Bruce Kabasa who is an influential member of the Makerere council became angry and directed Ddumba to discipline Eyoku on grounds that she was disrespectful. Ddumba refused to act as instructed, prompting Kabasa to threaten to resign from being the Committee chair. All this shows one thing-that Eyoku isn’t a new babe to controversy. To some members, that combative character is what the non-teaching staff need to have in the Makerere governing council.
VERBATTIM/HOW IT WENT:Joseph Kalema, a MASA executive member, shelled Euzobia as follows: “Baine I just wonder why you open you month. If I am doing what you say, then, is it that I am not taken to be dealt with as the manual provides? You Baine and others don’t want people like me who tell you what wrongs u have done to me and other. I am not shameless, greedy and selfish like you. I have never done anything wrong in this University. U just pity you and your mouth. Remember you told me you take bribes from staff and you talk about me!!” Another member went after the MASA chairman and ranted as follows: “You didn’t talk about irregular appointments Mr. Chairman [Vincent Abigaba]. Secondly we had a joint executive meeting for all associations and you denounced the resolutions even after your physical presence which culminated into resolutions made by other two associations. I remember you said that you have been promoted and therefore not motivated to take that path as you didn’t believe in fanaticism. I want to remind you that once people call for a meeting just ask them the issue to be discussed but not being defensive. We have a Rep in council now acting as Director Gender; do you think a director can articulate my concerns as a member of staff at M6.2 at operational level? Does she even know the problems I encounter in line of duty execution? By the way are you aware on how you get business to be discussed or you think they must entirely be coming from you as Chair? Please don’t be corrupted by authority and power coz it’s us who entrusted you in that mandate and we’re free to think otherwise when you go overboard.” Then Ruth Eyoku Iteu squared off with Euzobia Baine, a lady she worked with to ensure MASA was represented by a lady in Council: Her rant went as follows: “Me. Ruth Iteu Eyoku?With due respect you need to conduct yourself in a befitting manner commensurate to a respectable public officer.Just bcoz your mouth 👄 is too loud with vile and putrid language (that you use against staff and students) does not mean that actually staff buy into your divisive propaganda.Do some soul searching.” Then someone called Gordon weighed in as follows: “Euzobia Baine. You have a very BIG LOG in your eye which you should remove first before you remove logs in other people’s eyes.Your blatant disregard of lawful orders and University policies leaves you morally naked. The day you smuggled your son into the University using your position as Appointments Board Member is the day you should have resigned the Council position.To you it’s about what you can get for yourself than serving MASA.You are better off keep quite.”