Matanda Abubaker speaks out on UNSA demonstration and students' arrest.

Matanda Abubaker speaks out on UNSA demonstration and students' arrest.
Abubaker Matanda, President Uganda National Students' Association (UNSA)
Abubaker Matanda, President Uganda National Students’ Association (UNSA)

We have read with an air of disappointment the unprofessional coverage of events by a number of media houses, as a result, we would wish to give a summarized account of what happened to explain our side of the story. Last week over 25 student leaders were arrested during a demonstration against the current form of the students’ loan scheme and the non uniformity of the grading system used by the different universities in Uganda.

As the official voice of students under Uganda National Students’ Association (UNSA), we have addressed a number of issues to the authorities in vain, this we have done through writing letters, holding press conferences, and personal negotiations but all efforts put to waste.

In protest, we therefore decided to hold a press conference outside the minister’s office which was successful but also hand the press release to her explaining our grievances.

This time round we mobilized other student leaders to join us.  A group of over twenty student leaders thus moved for this cause.

  1. Matanda Abubaker –President UNSA.
  2. Acak Pasquine – Vice President UNSA.
  3. Tumusiime Brian – General secretary UNSA.
  4. Ekima Emmanual – Secretary Finance UNSA.
  5. Obita Emmanuel – Secretary Publicity UNSA.
  6. Wenani Kenneth – Secretary National Affairs UNSA.
  7. Namatove Sharifa – Secretary women Affairs UNSA.
  8. Irumba Victor – Guild President Kyambogo .
  9. Mugabi Brian – Guild President Ndejje.
  10. Walusimbi Walter – Guild president YMCA.
  11. Byarugaba Julius – Guild president Nkumba.
  12. Mujjuzi Abdul Aziz – Vice Guild president IUIU- Mbale
  13. Saddam Hussein – IUIU Prime minister – Kla 14.
  14. Emenyu Charles – Vice President, Yellow club IUIU- Mbale
  15. Ojobile Augustine – student Kyambogo.
  16. Tumusiime Derrick – Student Nkumba
  17. Mukwata Wilson – Guild speaker Nkumba
  18. Bagonza Moses – Former Guild speaker Multitech
  19. Omiel Dennis – Student Butabika psychiatry school
  20. Ankunda Patra Victor – Minister Finance Nkumba
  21. Namisi Ronald
  22. Sserwanga Geoffrey – Chief Justice Nkumba
  23. Nsibuka Haruna – Prime Minister. Nkumba
  24. Joram Mwesigye – student Kyambogo
  25. Chrosistom Miyingo – Guild speaker Kyambogo AMONG OTHERS

We were decrying basically two issues; a. Pea nut money allocated to students loan scheme i.e less than 6Billion catering for a mere 1000 students thus locking out arts students; and Non uniform grading system in universities as expounded in our press release hereto attached.

After the press conference in front of embassy house, we moved to the gate in an attempt to enter the offices. The police officers at the gate blocked us saying the minister was not around at the time. However, we had seen the convoy of the state minister Hon. Kamanda Bataringaya enter, so we demanded that we shall not leave until we meet him and submit our grievances.

At that point a police pickup of anti riot police arrived with a siren; we were roughed up and thrown onto the pick with peeper spray sprayed in our eyes. 17 of us were taken to CPS, made to note statements and thrown in prison.

Thanks to the intervention of our colleagues who remained out, our secretariat, legal team, and ministry officials, we were released on police bond.

THE WAY-FORWARD

1. We condemn the police act of arresting us brutally yet we were civil and peaceful in our move which we refuse to define as a demonstration because we wanted to meet the minister who holds a public office that we need no police permission to enter; but also to applaud the police liaison officer, and DPC CPS Kampala central for realizing our concerns were genuine through a meeting.

2. We still maintain our position, and in the meeting with ministry officials, police, and members of our secretariat in the CPS board room, the officials pledged to organize a meeting next week with the minister or permanent secretary to address our issues.

If by the end of next week we have no positive response, we shall call upon all students in Uganda and well wishers to take a move we shall communicate then.

3. This is a struggle we urge everyone to join because it affects our country as a whole and complacency on anyone’s side would be utter betrayal.

We call upon all students in Uganda to embrace UNSA, and make use of this structure to advocate for their rights as that is the core reason as to why it was established by parliament of Uganda.

“We struggle for liberation”

Yours in students service, Matanda Abubaker ,President UNSA Rotation 2014/2015

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