By Ndey Sowe
Dr. Alieu Gibba, Senior Lecturer and former UTG Staff President, said the extension of the registrar’s term in office by the UTG Governing Council is unlawful.
According to Dr. Gibba, the current University Registrar, Dr. Momodou Lamin Tarro, was appointed Registrar on February 1, 2014, after serving as acting registrar for three to four years.
He was required by the UTG’s Conditions of Service to serve for a fixed term of three consecutive years, which is renewable once. However, Gibba said Tarro’s second term in office expired in February 2020.
“Dr. Tarro continued to unlawfully serve as Registrar for another three consecutive years until April 2023, when the Vice Chancellor, Professor Herbert Robinson, appointed him and Ousainou Corr, the Director of Finance, through a Council resolution dated on the 23rd March 2023, as permanent pensionable staff,” Gibba said.
He said these positions as well as those of the Deans and Heads of Departments are rotational in most academic institutions around the world.
“According to Section 8.5 subsection 8.5.1 of the UTG’s Conditions of Service, “appointments to the position of University Registrar and Director of Finance, shall be for a fixed term with the possibility of renewal, but for only once. Such posts shall be filled through advertisement, interview, and assessment,” he cited the UTG’s terms of service.
He recollected that in early 2022, he petitioned the Governing Council over the expiration of the Registrar’s tenure, but said it was ignored by the current Council’s Chairperson, Mr. Matthew P. Ndure.
“Since the circulated memorandum from the Vice Chancellor’s office about Council’s resolutions on the tenure of the Registrar and Director of Finance dated on 23rd March 2023, was only signed by Prof. Herbert Robinson, the UTG’s Governing Council unanimously extended the Registrar’s term in office. Or was this an unlawful arrangement by the Registrar, Finance Director, and Vice Chancellor without the knowledge of the Council? The public needs to know,” Gibba said.
He added: “The Governing Council (GC) is the supreme organ of the University of The Gambia (UTG), responsible for the formulation and reviewing of policies, and is also responsible for the overall guidance of the University.”
Given these functions, he bemoaned, it is rather unfortunate that the Council seems to be micro-managed by the UTG management.
“In 2019, each Council member was paid an allowance of not more than D3,000 per sitting. As of today, the Chairperson of Council receives D12,000 while the Deputy Chairperson receives D10,000. The rest of the Council members receive D8,000 each per month, regardless of whether there is a meeting or not. This is unfair and uncalled for especially in an institution where students usually sit on broken chairs and desks,” he frowns.
Gibba said according to Section 17 Subsection 1 of the 2016 Tertiary and Higher Education Act, the Governing Council shall hold ordinary meetings at least once every quarter, to address concerns and other businesses. Dr. Gibba lamented exorbitant amounts received by staff on a monthly basis at the expense of a crawling and struggling university.
“Are Governing Council members on UTG’s monthly payroll? The answer is simply the negative. Council’s allowances should be paid as per sitting but not on a monthly basis, otherwise, it would be considered as salary,” he emphasised.