Uganda: Makerere investigates speaker’s parody at law exam

Makerere University has launched an investigation into the conduct of Law Faculty second semester examinations that parodied the Speaker of Parliament.

The Nile Post has been reliably informed that Vice-Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe last week asked the University Senate for guidance on the conduct of examining students using a deeply satirical essay which was said to have “raised concerns”.

Faculty of Law principal Dr Ronald Naluwairo is understood to have acknowledged the concerns but defended the holding of the course unit L1210 – Principles of Constitutional Law II – exam which first-year second semester students took. May 11. .

He also protested the directive to investigate the exams, calling it an “attack on academic freedom” and “regressive.”

It is unclear whether there were any official complaints about the ethical underpinnings of the exam, but it is understood that both Professor Nawangwe and Dr Naluwairo received concerns about the parody.

“Telling you to investigate is not an infringement of your academic freedom,” Professor Nawangwe reportedly told the head of the law school.

“You should moderate your exams.”

However, Dr Naluwairo maintained that the decision was in the clouds and protested “the attack on his academic freedom” enshrined in the Constitution.

“The only standard required of examinations is that they be moderate, and this was met,” Dr Naluwayo allegedly told VC Nawangwe in his report.

“The Faculty of Law defends its examination as ethical, appropriate and meeting the standards of Makerere University.”

In the controversial exam, the Law School challenged its first-year students on current affairs, but using a satirical essay that sees President Anita among the fight against recent UK government sanctions.

“Hurt by the recent sanctions imposed against her by the United Kingdom (UK) government and the criticism that followed on social media, the Speaker of Parliament, the Honorable Anita Annet Among, has decided to fight against those who “write malicious reports.” about her,” the essay says.

“Thus, on Monday, May 6, 2024, he presented what he called a “President’s Bill” entitled “Anti-Social Media and Other Imperialist Agents Bill,” which contains, among others, the following provisions.”

The parody lists clauses of the fictitious bill, including the prohibition of adverse comments about the office of the Speaker of Parliament, and in particular about the person of Anita Annet Among, and empowers the speaker to make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). . ) about which people will be charged according to the law.

Asking students to be concise and thoughtful in their answers, the examiner further parodied the speaker’s exchange with the opposition leader, who had taken issue with the draconian bill.

“You, Joelo, shut up. Are you one of those vagabonds who are after my life? I am the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Queen of Bukedea and Conqueror of the British Empire: In this House I can do whatever I want.” “adds the fictitious essay.

The Speaker then takes the bill to President Museveni for approval. In response, the President told the Speaker: “This is a very good bill; the only thing missing is a specific mention of me as the Fountain of Honour, Maama Janet, the First Lady and all my children: let me add that clause and sign. “

The Bill was duly amended and declared to have entered into force on January 26, 1986.