By Sania Bairye
A PHD student Yusuf Serunkuma Kajura has won a case in which he challenged a decision by the Academic board of Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISR) headed by prof. Mahmood Mamdani appointing Dr. Virgine Tallio to replace Dr. Okello Ogwang as this new main supervisor and prof. Mamdani together with Dr. Samson Bezabeth as members of his doctoral committee held on the 30th of August 2017.
In his application, Serunkuma stated that he had fallen out with Prof.Mamdani yet prof.Mamdani continued to exercise his influence in his PHD study including replacing and appointing new supervisors like his prodigy Bezabeth to frustrate his studies.
Justice Mugambe has replaced Dr. samson Bazebeth with Prof. Abasi Kiyimba his former supervisor who had been replaced after he went on sick leave but is back and fine stating that it is irrational, irregular and unreasonable to force supervision of a PhD student by someone he has fallen out with, or any considered proteges of such person.
She stated that Supervision for PhD should be by someone Serunkuma has trust and confidence in and also awarded him 25million shillings in general damages for being frustrated to complete his PHD for almost 10 years and costs to the suit.
Justice Mugambe has also issued an order barring Prof.Mamdani and MISR from involving themselves in the administration, supervision and examination of Serunkuma’s PhD thesis including nomination and appointment of the Applicant’s Doctoral Committee and further ordered the College of humanities and social sciences and the Directorate of research and graduate
training to take over the administration, supervision and examination of Serunkuma’s PhD thesis including nomination and appointment of his Doctoral Committee.
She has further ordered that his supervisors be picked from the list of persons presented by Serunkuma who are demonstrated to have no bias including Prof. Abasi Kiyimba his former supervisor who had been replaced after he went on sick leave but is fine and back , Dr. Simba Ssali Kayunga, Dr. Pamela Khanakwa, Dr. Suzan Kiguli, (Professor Peter Atekyereza and Prof. (Sr) Dominica Dipio.
In conclusion, Justice Mugambe has squashed the said appointment and also quashed the decision of the examinations,
irregularities and appeals committee of the college of humanities and social sciences irrationally taken on the 12th of December 2017 arising from his appeal regarding administration, supervision and examination of his PhD thesis.
She also ruled that it will be unfair to make Serunkuma to pay fees and other related costs for the years he had fallen out with his supervisors and ordered that he pay fees for only one academic year within which his supervision should be completed and if he passes, allowed to graduate.
Evidence before court shows that in 2012, he was admitted by Makerere University on a study program leading to an award of PhD in social studies at MISR, its affiliates but on the 30th of August 2017, the academic Board of MISR being manipulated by prof.Mamdani appointed Dr. Virgine Tallio to replace Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang as his main supervisor as well as prof. Mamdani together with Dr. Samson Bazabeh as members of the Applicant’s doctoral Committee which decision he said breached the principles of natural justice and asked court to declare the decision null and void.
On the 6th of October 2017, he appealed the Institute Board’s decision to the Examinations, Irregularities and Appeals Committee of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences under which MISR falls and on the 3rd of October 2019 he he was given a new set of supervisors and doctorial committee members for his PhD study including Dr. Samson Bezabeth as one of his supervisors but he rejected him saying Dr.Bezabeth being a friend of Dr.Mamdani whom he had fallen out with will be biased and be influenced by prof.Mamdani during his supervisory role on his PHD and requested for Prof. Abasi Kiyimba to be reinstated on the team of his supervisors since he was unreasonably removed yet he is fully conversant with the nature of his topic.