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Makerere investigating four more staff over sexual harassment

Date: 
Thursday, 18 July 2019 - 12:00pm
FILE PHOTO: Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four more staff of Makerere University are being investigated for sexual harassment, according to the vice chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.

He disclosed this while responding to compliments by guild leaders haling management for suspend three male staff accused of sexual harassment.

According to Professor Nawangwe, the 2018 report on investigation of sexual harassment at Makerere University made short term, medium term and long term recommendation, which he says management has been trying to implement.

“The short term measures were to investigate pending cases and that is exactly what we are doing. Now we are identifying all cases that had been in rumors. People are now coming up and are willing to testify,” Professor Nawangwe told URN in a phone interview.

Adding that; “Apart from the three cases that are public, there are four other cases that are lined up for investigations very soon. The public will know as soon these investigations have started but now I cannot reveal the names for obvious reasons.”

This morning, student leaders under the 85th guild commended the university management effort in dealing with sexual harassment at the institution. This is in the wake of the suspension of Vincent Ssajjabi, an assistant lecturer in the School of Economics, Medard Twinobuhungiro, an assistant lecturer in the School of Business and Jackson Sekiryango from School of Languages, Literature and Communication recently on allegations of sexual harassment.

Marion Kirabo, a fourth year student of law and the Guild Minister for Gender, Ethics and Integrity, says the suspension is a good step by management to sanitize the university image.  “We are ready to cooperate with the university authorities to stamp out the same and we pledge to do all we can to fight the vice as the guild,” Kirabo said in a statement.

Adding that; “We had for instance been receiving various complaints from students about the said staff and several others and we are deeply concerned about the continued reports. We are however glad that slowly by slowly the university is taking a brave effort to stamp out the vice.”

Student leaders say they are concerned that some of the recommendations in the 2018 report on investigation of sexual harassment at Makerere University haven’t been implemented.

 

They included among others installation of sexual harassment and assaults hotlines in the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, introduction of night escort service to students especially for those on evening programs, installation of Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in strategic places by May 31, 2019 and securing campus perimeter and all entry points as well as develop card access system to buildings.

Kirabo says the university management and council seem to be taking their time on the recommendations, which they think would remedy the situation.

Ahmed Abdirahman, the Guild Academic Affairs Minister, says sexual harassment is grossly impacting students’ performance, saying some students actually receive undeserved marks due to the relations they have with their lecturers.

He urges students especially females to work hard and avoid being in vulnerable positions such as having retakes that disadvantages them.

Judith Nalukwago, the Guild Vice President, commended the university management on action taken against perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Professor Nawangwe urged the students to come out and report any sexual harassment cases they may know of.  He said the Gender Main Streaming unit of the university has been conducting sensitization sessions among students about the revised policies and regulations against sexual harassment, after which he says the unit will revert to retrain staff on the same and customer relations.

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URN