Former Makerere University Chancellor Prof. Mondo Kagonyera says that the diversion of funds, initially allocated for enhancement of salaries for non-teaching staff in public universities was for a just cause.
Kagonyera’s comments come amid an ongoing strike by non-teaching staffs in public universities. The staffs under their umbrella Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executives Forum (PUNTSEF) are demanding for enhancement of their salaries in line with a commitment made in 2015.
As part of the commitment, government was to ensure that salaries of non-teaching staff in public universities across the country are leveled with salaries of teaching staff. The staffs have been striking over the last three weeks following a failed negotiated deal with government over their salary enhancement and arrears amounting to 28 billion Shillings.
However, Education and Sports minister Janet Museveni says that 13.5 billion Shillings, part of the money allocated towards enhancing the salaries of non-teaching staff was used to kick-start operations of the new universities. The universities include Kabale University, Soroti University and Lira University.
In an exclusive interview with Uganda Radio Network, Prof Kagonyera said the diversion was well-intentioned and should be appreciated. Prof. Kagonyera also advised the striking staff to be considerate.
Professor Mondo Kagonyera also faults a proposal to match salaries of academic staff with non-academic staff saying it is not ideal given the competitiveness of academic staff all over the world.