The Minister of Education, Daphrose Gahakwa, has dismissed threats of a possible lawsuit by Prof. Herbert Nsanze, the former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) who was sacked last month for alleged insubordination.
Prof. Nsanze Wednesday threatened in The New Times to take the minister to court over what he termed as unlawful termination of his contract which was supposed to run until September 2010.
“His sacking was based on a unanimous decision by the whole Board of Governors of the National University of Rwanda to suspend him indefinitely. It was not Gahakwa who decided his fate,” said the minister.
“His lawsuit would be baseless because he breached terms of his contract and they are very clear.”
The termination clause in the contract states: “In the event any party fails to perform any of its duties or obligations contained herein or in terms of reference of this service contract, and if such failure is not corrected within one month of written notice specifying the area of non performance, either party may terminate this contract upon three months written or a month’s salary in lieu of notice.”
The former Dean was first suspended by the Rector of NUR, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba on the basis of what the latter termed as “serious insubordination”.
Several letters between the two dons that go back to last year, reveal that minister Gahakwa tried to nip the conflict in the bud but to no avail.
Prof. Nsanze had alleged in an interview with The New Times that his dismissal was the result of a longstanding dispute between him and the Rector of NUR, which Lwakabamba dismisses.
“The case of Prof Nsanze had been discussed in the Executive Committee of NUR and twice in the NUR Board meeting on 29th April and later on 13th May, and each time we all unanimously came to the same conclusion that Prof Nsanze should be suspended because of serious insubordination and mismanagement of a cooperation project between NUR and the University of Colorado in USA.,” said the Rector in an email sent to The New Times from Sweden where he is on a mission.
“That’s why his contract was terminated and nothing else. I have nothing else against him and I don’t see why the article says that there was long standing bad blood between him and me.”
Lwakabamba also denied that the conflict was a result of his objecting to the government proposal to move the medical faculty to the new Medical University under the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.
“How can it be reported that I am against the Government decision to move the Faculty of Medicine to the new University when facts speak to the contrary. One: I have been chairing a committee and pushing for over two years now to amalgamate the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health and KHI together. Minutes of meetings are available for this. Secondly: after the Cabinet decision to move the Faculty of Medicine, the Minister of Health appointed me to Chair a Committee to fast track the start of the new University. We have met many times and the minutes for these meetings are also available.”
“Thirdly, I set up an NUR internal committee to make sure that the separation of the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, Pharmacy and Clinical Psychology from NUR is smooth. So how can it be said that I am against the Government decision on this? It is totally not true and it can be checked with the committee members.”
Professor Herbert Nsanze was recruited to head the Faculty of Medicine in December 2006.