Benard Wandera, 57, the Makerere University lecturer accused of slapping a female student in class has been charged with two offenses of assault.
The charges stem from allegations of assaulting two of his female students Patricia Aikoro and Prisca Mirembe. Wandera was first put on the spot when a video showing him hit Mirembe inside the Frank Kalimuzo teaching facility went viral.
He appeared before the Buganda Road magistrates Court on Wednesday where the Grade One Magistrate Fidelis Otwao slapped him with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Prosecution alleges that on the November 17, 2022 he assaulted Mirembe Prisca at CTF 1 lecture room there by causing her actual bodily harm.
Wandera a resident of Rubaga was granted a cash bail of 1.5 million shillings while his sureties were each bonded 50 million shillings non cash. He was also asked to deposit his original National ID in court and a letter from the LC1 chairperson of his area of residence.
The case has been adjourned to December 15th, 2022 to allow the prosecution led by State Attorney Joan Keko to complete investigations into the matter.
After court Wandera, attempted to sneak past the glaring cameras by covering himself in a big jacket. He also declined to speak to the media.
On Monday, police spokesperson Fred Enanga stated that the Criminal Investigations Directorate -CID has taken interest the case following his suspension from the University.
In his suspension letter, Prof Nawangwe noted that Wandera’s action were contrary to the rules, regulations and code of conduct of the University.
“I have also received additional written complaints from a student of the college of humanities and social sciences as well as oral complaints from the university community on this matter,” Proff Nawangwe said.
Nawangwe said Wandera was suspended in accordance with section 55(c) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 (as amended) as well as the provisions of the Uganda Public Service Standing orders 2021, and the Makerere University Human Resource Manual (2009).
Enanga however explained that CID headquarters instructed the Kampala Metropolitan CID team to ensure the case is properly investigated for prosecution.
“We are happy that the University took administrative action to suspend the lecturer but the matter has a criminal dimension.” he said
He also stated that it is a growing habit at Universities and other institutions to only suspend or dismiss the perpetrators of violence against students.
“Many human rights defenders, parents, guardians, and students have criticized several universities for mishandling such acts of physical harassment. Usually, settlements are arranged for these perpetrators such as voluntary resignation but such are not prohibitive,” Enanga said.
Compiled By Rashidah Nakaayi