By Yudaya Nangonzi
Kyambogo University will have a substantive vice chancellor by the end of this month. That is according to acting vice chancellor (VC), Prof Eli Katunguka.
Talking to The Observer, last week, Prof Katunguka said although the search process had taken a long time, the university search committee was doing its best to conclude its work by the end of the month.
“The process of appointing a substantive VC is a long one. An advertisement ran [in the newspapers] in February this year and applications were received mid-March. Since then, the process has been going on,” Katunguka said. “I think the committee is arranging to organise interviews for those that submitted and I’m sure they are moving on very well.” Last week, Kyambogo University Senior Administrative Staff Association (KYUSASA) chairman Jackson Betihamah asked the university council to expedite the process of appointing a substantive vice chancellor.
Prof Katunguka, who is also an interested candidate, said he did not want to poke his nose into the search committee’s affairs. “I do not want to keep probing into what is happening. So, I withdrew from the whole process and I’m waiting to hear from them what they tell us to do,” he said, urging the staff to remain calm on the matter.
Betihamah also argued that staff was frustrated at the large number of officials in acting capacity at the university. He cited positions such as acting university secretary (US), acting chief auditor, and the acting dean of students.
However, according to Katunguka, the university recently picked a substantive internal auditor, who had received his appointment letter. He explained that the only vacant positions were those of the university secretary and dean of students. He said the university ran the first advertisement, and the applicants did not meet council’s expectations.
This prompted the university to publish another advertisement that saw 23 applicants for the position of university secretary and 20 for that of dean of students. “We are working on a schedule on how to interview these people and get them selected. If we don’t get the qualifying persons, we shall again re-advertise the positions and maybe do a head-hunt to encourage people to apply,” he said.
In her report about the university in 2015, the Inspector General of Government, Irene Mulyagonja, recommended that, ‘with the problems of Kyambogo, the type of person for a university secretary position must be at the level of the permanent secretary of a ministry.’
But Katunguka felt that it was unlikely that permanent secretaries would leave their ministries and head to Kyambogo. “Permanent secretaries earn better allowances there and I don’t think council might have that money to keep them at the university,” he said. “Since we need good people, we shall look around and see how we can get such a person because the [University Secretary] is very critical to the success of an institution and we cannot gamble about it,” he added.
Prof Katunguka is already the substantive deputy vice chancellor in charge of Academics, where he has served for two years of his five-year contract. Prof Katunguka took over office in February 2014 from Prof Fabian Nabugomu, whose interim term had ended.