Suspended Makerere University research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi, wants her suspension lifted and a return to Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) where she worked prior to her suspension.
Dr Nyanzi, famous for using sexual innuendos while talking about socio-political issues, was last year suspended from MISR after she undressed to protest what she called mistreatment by the Institute’s director, Professor Mahmood Mamdani. On her return from suspension, she was transferred to Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at the School of Law.
Dr Nyanzi on Friday appeared before the university staff tribunal chaired by George Omunyokol, a lecturer at Law Development Centre (LDC). Flanked by her lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde, Nyanzi argued that her suspension and charges framed on social media comment are inconsistent with her right to freedom of expression.
The tribunal handles complaints of staff aggrieved with decisions of the university appointments board. “She (Dr Stella) has been on suspension since 31st March 2017. We want the suspension lifted and our client to be returned to Makerere Institute of Social Research as a full time researcher,” Ssemakadde said. “For now, Stella’s status with Makerere University is in limbo,” he added.
Ssemakadde also argued that the university has reneged on its promise to pay Dr Nyanzi her half-salary and other emoluments she was supposed to receive during suspension.
In a May 23rd letter to the University human resource director and appointments board chairperson, Ssemakadde, reminded the Makerere officials of their obligation to pay Dr Nyanzi’s salary arrears accumulated during last year’s suspension.
“We request for a full statement of accountability regarding our client’s arrears of salary and other emoluments including research grants due and owing to her for the time being; and a statement of the reasons why the aforesaid funds have yet not been deposited into our client’s bank account known to the university,” the letter reads in part.
Ssemakadde says Dr Nyanzi is paid “some months, then some months she doesn’t get and the figure keeps fluctuating without explanation.”
From May to October last year when Dr Stella was on suspension, she was supposed to be paid half salary and from November to March when the suspension was lifted, she was supposed to get full salary. In the subsequent months after the March 31st suspension, the university should have been paying Dr Nyanzi half salary.
Dr Nyanzi is also demanding Makerere University tribunal to overturn the February 10, 2017 appointments board resolutions. It was in this meeting that the board found Dr her guilty of misconduct, re-instated her with a caution and transferred her to Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at the School of Law.
Ssemakadde said the university tribunal promised to pronounce itself on the matter soon and its ruling will be communicated to them.
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