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Museveni asked to block appointment of Prof Bazeyo as Makerere Chancellor

Makerere University, Uganda's oldest and most prestigious institution, is facing controversy surrounding the appointment of its next Chancellor. A graduate, Sam Ninsiima, has petitioned President Museveni to reject the University Council's recommendation of Professor William Bazeyo.

Museveni with Prof Bazeyo

Traditionally, the President appoints Makerere Chancellors based on the Council's recommendation.

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The search for a new Chancellor began in December 2023 to replace Professor Ezra Suruma after his eight-year term.

Delays hampered the process, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe temporarily assuming the role.

Reports suggest that Professor Bazeyo and Engineer Charles Wana Etyem were nominated, while former Agriculture Minister Victoria Ssekitoleko and former Gulu University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jack Pen-Mogi Nyeko were reportedly excluded. Nawangwe confirmed nominations were sent but wouldn't disclose names.

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Ninsiima, in his letter, accuses the Council of prioritizing personal interests by proposing Bazeyo. He alleges a shift from merit-based selection to manipulation driven by "power and money." He further questions the future of education under such circumstances.

More concerning are allegations of Bazeyo holding a "fake PhD." Ninsiima argues that someone with questionable credentials cannot award legitimate degrees. The University's eligibility criteria require a recognized bachelor's degree and high integrity. Ninsiima urges the President to consider the context and protect the University's image.

This isn't the first time Bazeyo's academic credentials have been challenged. In 2020, he resigned as acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Finance and Administration) amidst similar questions. Alumni accused him of obtaining a Ph.D. from an unrecognized institution, a claim supported by the National Council for Higher Education.

An anonymous lecturer further criticized the University Council, suggesting they are no longer safeguarding academic integrity. They question how someone with a potentially fraudulent degree could be considered for the Chancellorship, highlighting the conflict of interest surrounding Bazeyo's alleged involvement in Makerere University centers.

The controversy surrounding Bazeyo's nomination comes as Makerere University strives to maintain its reputation as a leading institution. The President now faces a critical decision: uphold the Council's recommendation or prioritize academic integrity and appoint someone who embodies the University's values.

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