Gulu. Gulu University Council has approved the re-appointment of Prof Jack Nyeko Pen-Mogi as vice chancellor.
However, there is resistance from the university staff and students who argue that the position should be opened for competition from other eligible candidates.
Prof Pen-Mogi has served in this position since 2002, when the university was established and was due to step down on January 15. However, although interviews for the position were conducted, all the contenders were disregarded.
Daily Monitor has since established that Prof Pen-Mogi was secretly re-appointed by the council in November last year and details of his approval were not announced until mid this month when the communication was sent out officially.
His position was advertised in May last year for eligible applicants and about six candidates applied. But the university’s senate only presented two names of candidates with ‘relevant’ qualifications to the council for recommendation.
Those recommended included Prof George Openjuru, the University’s deputy vice chancellor and Prof Christopher Garimoi Orach from Makerere University School of Public Health.
Daily Monitor also understands that during a meeting in November last year, majority of council members, academic staff, students and district representatives opposed the council’s decision to approve more years for Prof Pen-Mogi to lead the University.
According to some of the academic staff and students’ representatives who attended the meeting and are opposed to his approval, the appointment violates the University and other Tertiary institutions Act given that he had served for more than ten years. The Act gives council powers to appoint a vice chancellor to serve a five year term, renewable only once.
One of the academic staff who spoke to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity said despite majority of the council members rejecting Pen-Mogi’s approval, the minority ‘group’ loyal to the professor approved him anyway.
“Two years ago, when Prof Pen- Mogi’s renewed term ended, he requested for an extension which was given. We are however shocked and wonder what kind of law the council followed to renew his term,” he said.
He also explained that majority of council members proposed that the position be re-advertised since only two suitable candidates were presented as opposed to the mandated three candidates but some council members rejected the move.
He noted that some members on the search committee had served for more than five years in the council adding that even when their mandate expired, they were re-elected.
“Prof Pen-Mogi has served for long, the search committee cannot lie that there were no suitable candidates who applied from different parts of the country. Besides, the senate hid identities of other candidates who we believe had potential of getting the job,” he added.
The university’s spokesperson, Ms Amelia Zalwango, told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview last Friday that Prof Pen-Mogi’s position was approved by majority members of the council.
During the university’s 12th graduation ceremony held on January 14, Prof Pen-Mogi, while addressing guests and graduates confirmed that the council had added him two more years to head the university.
“I thank council for allowing me to serve the university up to the time it becomes an adult,” Prof Pen-Mogi said.
However, when asked to comment on the claim that he had overstayed at the university, Prof Pen-Mogi, declined to divulge details saying senate matters are “confidential”.