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Replacing Mubs’ Principal Prof Balunywa: Why Exactly are Prof Baryamureeba and Minister Kiyingi Insulting Each Other?

Prof Baryamureeba Takes on Minister Asuman Kiyingi over Prof Waswa Balunywa Replacement

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Former Makerere University vice chancellor and presidential candidate Prof Venansius Baryamureeba and junior works minister Asuman Kiyingi has been engaged in a bitter exchange over the replacement of Prof Waswa Balunywa as Makerere University Business School (Mubs) principal.

It all started when education minister Janet Museveni wrote to the Education Service Commission to replace Balunywa who has been at Mubs since its inception in the late 1990s.

The Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, 2001, gives the mandate of appointing principals and deputy principals for public tertiary institutions  to the Education Service Commission.

Three times has Balunywa had his five-year contracts extended since 2003.

And his last extension expired on May 03.

“The purpose of this letter is to request you that Education Service Commission finalizes the process of appointment of the next principal of MUBS before the contract of the current one expires to avoid a leadership vacuum,” directed Mrs Museveni in a letter dated April 11.

But, born in 1955, Prof Balunywa will be ineligible for reappointment since Section 12 of the Pension Act Cap 286 bars anyone who is 60 years and above from holding public office.

“An officer shall retire on attaining the age of sixty years,” reads clause one.

Balunywa. Courtesy Photo
Balunywa. Courtesy Photo

So, Why the Quarrel Between Asuman Kiyingi and Prof Venansius Baryamureeba?

For days now, Prof Baryamureeba and Minister Kiyingi have been engaged in a war of words over Balunywa’s reappointment (or replacement).

According to minister Kiyingi, Baryamureeba wants the Mubs principal jobs.

“A scheming Baryamureeba exploiting his tribal and religious networks is fighting to grab the job,” wrote Kiyingi at the weekend.

Prof Baryamureeba is the Mubs Council Chairperson.

He denies interest in the school’s principal job.

“I would like to categorically state that after serving as Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, I have no interest in serving as Vice Chancellor of any other University or Principal of any tertiary institution including Mubs,” wrote Baryamureeba in an online opinion.

Museveni Factor

Minister Kiyingi accuses Baryamureeba of attempting to block Balunywa, a man he (Kiyingi) thinks is the President Yoweri Museveni’s annointed principal of Mubs.

“The President wants Professor Balunywa re-appointed as Mubs Principal,” claims Kiyingi.

“I hope this time round the President prevails over these sectarian forces holding him hostage.”

That would mean Balunywa would have a smooth ride to the job since Museveni reportedly favours him — at least according to Kiyingi — and his wife is education minister while his sister Violet Kajubiri heads the education service commission.

Or, he would at least have an edge over the other candidates — since the Mubs principal job will be advertised to attract other interested and qualifying candidates.

Tribal, Religious Sentiments

According to Kiyingi, Baryamureeba is fighting Walunywa because he is a Muslim.

Walunywa’s name Juma is unknown to some — who simply call him Prof Waswa Walunywa.

He is also a Musoga by tribe.

Baryamureeba is a Catholic and a Munyankore by tribe.

“This is a classic case of sectarianism,” claims Kiyingi.

“He suffers the double tragedy of being a Musoga and a Muslim at the same time in a system that looks down upon both.”

The minister also argues that Balunywa’s track record as an administrator is not being looked at — and that his tribe and faith are taking precedence.

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“Prof Balunywa’s stellar performance record seems a secondary matter.”

Baryamureeba’s Recommendation

Baryamureeba. Courtesy Photo
Baryamureeba. Courtesy Photo

But Prof Baryamureeba recommended Prof Balunywa long before minister Kiyingi complained.

On March 5, two months before the expiry of principal’s current term, Baryamureeba recommended Balunywa for the Mubs top job.

According to Baryamureeba, Balunywa has his blessing — only if he meets the eligibility criteria.

“Asuman Kiyingi, you have not disputed the fact that in writing on March 5, I recommended Prof Balunywa for reappointment and this letter was copied to him. I still recommended him for re-appointment any way as long as he met the eligibility criteria.,” further writes Baryamureeba.

“Mind you I did this without calling a MUBS Council meeting, that is, I did it on behalf of MUBS Council.”

Not Stupid

Baryamureeba even questions Kiyingi’s sources.

“So who are your credible sources? Prof. Balunywa fanatics, tribe mates or supporters?” asks Baryamureeba.

“If you were not Muslim I would have asked you what alcohol you had taken that influenced your write-up.”

The professor also describes Kiyingi’s kind of lobbying as “stupid”.

“Some of us are beyond stupid lobbying that involves character assassination of innocent Ugandans,” says Baryamureeba.

“Hon Asuman Kiyingi, your submission after my submission puts you under stupid Ugandans.”

In his argument, Baryamureeba vows to respect the law and to also resist any attempts to threaten him in execution of his duties as Mubs Council chairperson.

“Let me now assure you that as long as I live, I shall never be stupid or support the breaking of the law of Uganda I love so dearly,” he says.

“Either the law is on side or it’s not. So go on with your stupidity until we cross our path again… remember going forward I shall execute my duties as a chairperson of Mubs Council without fear or favor.”

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