Finally the suspension letters that have been circulating on social media got to Makerere University researcher, Dr. Stella Nyanzi.
She acknowledges having received two letters dated 6 March 2017 and 31 March 2017 yesterday, and has responded through her lawyers, Legal Aid.
And in a response issued today and addressed to the Director Human Resource, Makerere University, the lawyers warned the University, saying the charges being brought against their client are inconsistent with her right to freedom of expression.
“Let it be stated once more that the charges currently framed against our client relating to her alleged social media comments are inconsistent with her right to freedom of expression and several other constitutional imperatives, including academic freedom which is also enshrined in the 2001 Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act (as amended),” reads the response in part.
“By dint of Article 20(2) of the Constitution, the University, as a public authority, is obliged not to act in a way which is incompatible with any constitutionally guaranteed right. By attempting to suppress our client’s freedom of expression irrationally, unfairly, arbitrarily and disproportionately through the impugned citations of an ungazetted Human Resources Manual and the unjustified warning and suspension decisions of the Appointments Board, the University has demonstrably failed to appreciate not only the importance of our client’s right to freedom of expression, but also her rights to equal protection of the law and to fair and just treatment by an administrative body.”
They warned the University ‘to cease and desist not only from acting like the thought police in a tyrannical regime’.
The lawyers further warned against they called “’misguided campaign’ of harassment, intimidation, victimization and oppression of our client through unending, baseless and irregular disciplinary proceedings.”
“Consequently, we urge you once more to immediately terminate these so-called disciplinary proceedings and make the necessary arrangements to give our client sufficient reparations for the inconvenience and injury so far caused to her.”
In the letter dated 31 March, 2017 written by Bruce Kabaasa, the chairperson of the appointments board, directed Makerere University Chancellor, Prof. Dumba Ssentamu to suspend Dr. Stella Nyanzi for continually insulting First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the minister for education.
“This communication is therefore, to require you to implement the decision of the Appointments Board referred to above by suspending Dr. Stella Nyanzi from University Service with immediate effect,” the letter read in part.