Over 18 students of Makerere University have been arrested following a strike held during the morning hours of 16th April 2018.
The arrested students included the guild president, Papa Were Salim, the Chairman of Mitchel and Lumumba Halls of residence among other students.
The arrests were done amidst teargas and bullets fired by police to dispatch students. They have been taken to unknown destinations.
The strike is over claims that there are a lot of unsorted issues and unfair policies being passed under Prof. Nawangwe’s tenure as Makerere university Vice Chancellor that are worse than those in Prof. Dumba’s regime.
In his letter that called upon students to demonstrate, Papa Were sited the removal of meals in halls of residences for over 2000 government students, sex for marks and the hyping of the tuition to almost 100% as the major reasons for the strike.
However this was contrary to the Vice chancellor’s directive through the letter written and signed by the university Public Relations officer, that discouraged the students from striking because all issues are being investigated.
“The guild president wrote to the Vice chancellor on 13th, April 2018 inviting him to a consultative meeting that was due the following day. The V.C immediately responded informing of his earlier scheduled engagement; He (V.C) is currently in Nairobi attending a partnership meeting but he has availed Wednesday 18th April 2018 to interact with the Guild cabinet and GRCs,” the letter stated.
Former guild representative of the school of languages, literature and communication, Kyeyune Magoba Goefrey argued that they are fighting against these policies for the future of makerere but also those who will come after them.
“We are living happily in Makerere now because some people fought for us. But what we leave behind will determine the kind of life that those hoping to join makerere or even our brothers and children will live,” he said.
However,some students claim that the demonstration was purposefully staged by Papa Were and other power hungry personalities in a bid to win publicity. They added that Were’s camp was too critical of their predecessor, Kato Paul’s regime saying that it did nothing just because there was no strike.
“There is no cause for a strike because the policies that are highlighted as the precursors are still being worked upon by the university administration, and there is still room for dialogue,” said Ian Kikomeko.
Makerere university is well known for striking but the new Vice chancellor, Barnabus Nawangwe had vowed to eradicate the vice calling it “hooliganism” and the university had gone for a year without a student strike up to today.