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Rights watchdog condemns Nawangwe over probe into satirical Law school exam on Speaker Among

City Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, the Founder & Executive Director of Legal Brains Trust (L) on Tuesday issued a statement (R) condemning Makerere's attempt to probe School of Law Exam

Kampala, (UG):- Legal Brains Trust, an independent Kampala-based human rights and advocacy organization has condemned the manner in which Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe ordered an investigation into an examination that satirized Speaker Anita Annet Among and the UK Sanctions slapped against her.

During the first-year students’ end-of-semester examinations on May 12, the Paper of Principles of Constitutional Law II (L1210) taught by Prof. Oloka Onyango, had in one of its essays the Speaker visualized in a fight back against sanctions imposed on her by the United Kingdom and criticism from netizens.

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The paper which became a matter of public commentary and concern saw Prof Nawangwe issue an order to the School of Law Principal to investigate whether the paper meets minimum academic standards and whether there are ethical issues that fall below expected standards.

Nawangwe further requested the Principal to investigate the past three sets of exams set by the same lecturer and submit a report to the chairperson of the Senate by Tuesday, May 21 2024.

And now in the wake of the Vice Chancellor’s directive, Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, the Founder & Executive Director of Legal Brains Trust has issued a statement condemning the investigations, which he described as an attempt to gag the academic staff at the School of Law.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the authoritarian and intimidatory tactics employed by Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nawangwe, against Dr. Busingye Kabumba, the acting director of the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at Makerere University’s School of Law. Threatening retaliation against a senior lecturer for teaching Constitutional Law and Legal Philosophy through relevant “dimwit” case studies is a blatant assault on academic freedom and a gross betrayal of the university’s mission to foster critical thinking and intellectual inquiry,” Ssemakadde said in a Tuesday statement released via his official X account.

“By attempting to gag the academic staff for addressing corruption and accountability in the very institutions meant to safeguard our democracy, the Vice Chancellor, who is an insufferable bully, has yet again exposed his disdain for constitutional values and his willingness to sacrifice academic integrity on the altar of political expediency,” the statement adds.

Ssemakadde further implored the Vice Chancellor to “respect the autonomy of academic staff, promote critical thinking, and uphold the constitutional values that are the bedrock of our democracy.”

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