*Drags Institute to court for wrongful dismissal
A court battle is looming between the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) and a senior lecturer recently sacked for allegedly doctoring female students’ marks.
The lecturer, Hockie Savio Muterere is dragging the institute to court over what he has termed as wrongful dismissal.
Muterere was attached to the faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies and is accused of altering female students’ marks downwards after the students allegedly turned down his sexual advances.
The institute’s Vice Rector in charge of academics Dr. James Vuningoma confirmed that Muterere’s sacking was connected to sexual harassment of female students.
“The institute’s senate sacked him after thorough investigation. His record is not clean and he can be challenged,” Vuningoma said in an exclusive interview with The New Times last Thursday.
Vuningoma also revealed that Muterere dragged the institute to court and the hearing is set for July 7.
Muterere could not be reached for comment by press time.
Muterere had in March this year petitioned KIE Rector, George Njoroge. In the letter, dated March 2, Muterere alleged that the KIE’s decision to sack him was based on hearsay.
It all started in October last year when the university’s top governing body, the senate recommended that two girls in second year repeat another year since they had performed poorly. But the news hit the girls like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky.
In response, the students wrote to the senate protesting the decision, claiming they had passed but the lecturer altered the marks after they refused to bow to Muterere’s alleged advances.
Muterere was sacked on March 2, 2009 following recommendations from the university’s probe team. The team had been set up to establish whether the girls’ claims were authentic.
“No lecturer will harass the girls and go a way with it,” Dr. Vuningoma said, adding “leaders must be honest and credible.” He said the senate was shocked after hearing the girls’ claims.
The five-man probe team started its work on February 24, 2009. During the hearing, the probe team members heard that Muterere had on several occasions, sent them love messages but the girls would turn him down.
“We stood firm and said no,” one girl reportedly told the probe team. Muterere also appeared before the team but reportedly denied any wrongdoing. One of the girls said the lecturer used to make telephone calls, demanding for a relationship.
The Minister of Education Daphrosa Gahakwa told this newspaper yesterday that Muterere was fired after investigation proved beyond doubt that he was harassing girls.
“He would tell girls that before he gives them marks, they should sleep with him first,” Gahakwa told The NewTimes by phone yesterday.
Gahakwa appealed to girls at universities to expose such lecturers who instead of being the custodians of morals turn into violators.