Kampala. Makerere University has asked police to arrest on sight their former lecturer who disappeared with students’ examination scripts and marks after the university allegedly failed to pay him.
Mr David Opiro, a former lecturer at the department of Planning and Applied Statistics in the college of Business and Management Sciences, is said to have been irregularly hired by the department head, Dr James Wokadala, last year in February.
The lecturer in question taught third-year students pursuing a course unit called Fundamentals of Marketing (BBS 3208) between February and May.
He then administered and supervised more than 150 students’ end of second semester exams and has since refused to submit before the department head marked scripts and marks.
The university management has reportedly engaged him on several occasions in vain.
“We have asked police to arrest him [Mr Okiro] because it is not right to hold students at ransom when you have a disagreement with university management,” Mr Bruce Kabasa, the university appointments board chairperson, said yesterday.
“The deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, [Prof Okello Ogwang] made a complaint at Makerere University police station and Uganda police on behalf of the university,” he added.
Makerere University chief security officer, Mr Jackson Mucunguzi, yesterday confirmed that they are hunting for Mr Okiro.
The arrest plea came a day after the university management suspended Dr Wokadala.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Ddumba Ssentamu, in a letter to Dr Wokadala dated January 3o said: “After interaction with the [university] appointments board on January 30, 2017 and your failure to explain why you hired Mr Opiro and having irregularly given him students’ scripts; I have decided to suspend you immediately,” Prof Ddumba’s suspension letter to Dr Wokadala reads in part.
Prof Ddumba added: “Should you manage to retrieve the scripts from Mr Opiro by Midday Thursday 2, 2017 and bring them to my office; the suspension will be accordingly lifted. In the event that scripts and marks are not recovered, the affected students shall be given a special exam on Friday 3 February 2017, which will be marked on the same to enable students graduate on time,” the letter added.
Mr Kabasa told Daily Monitor that they recommended the suspension of Dr Wokadala because as the head of department and a don, he had no power to hire another lecturer. He further said Mr Opiro’s contract as Mak lecturer expired in 2015 but Dr Wokadala continuously engaged him in academic matters.
Declines to speak
When contacted, Dr Wokadala referred us to the university spokesperson, Ms Rita Namisango who said the Vice Chancellor had fully explained why the Dr Wokadala was suspended.
Mr Vincent Muhumuza, one of the students who sat the paper, said they found Mr Opiro lecturing at Makerere when they joined the university in 2013.
“He was a good man, a man of integrity but we don’t know what forced him to go with our papers. We have told university management that we want our marks to graduate,” Mr Muhumuza said.
Alengo Emmanuel, who represents the School of Statistics and Planning in the students’ guild said: “The Vice Chancellor made a quick decision which is disastrous. Dr Wokadala is a senior lecturer who may end up resigning and the school has lost many lecturers.”