Makerere University students on Monday 5th October went on strike over the tuition policy that requires all students to pay 100% by the sixth week of the semester.
Students want the policy scrapped. However, during the Monday strike, many blamed Makerere university Guild President, Bala David Bwiruka for not joining their cause.
Below Bala writes in response to why he did not participant in the strike.
Gallant Makerereans, I seek to indulge your attention on a few things:
It is not a secret that much as many students were of the opinion that we must strike, I chose to engage more with the university council diplomatically through a petition I had presented last week demanding for the revocation of the 100% tuition policy.
It would have been an insult to the intelligence of students for me as a leader to project a different intention in front of the students and yet again a different one in front of Council.
I therefore chose to stand by my decision to go with dialogue simply out of respect for the students I lead and for my integrity as a person.
Besides, I was already aware as I promptly communicated here that Council is to meet on Tuesday (today) to discuss the issue so I believe it was necessary to give dialogue a chance before resorting to other means.
It should be clear that much as we used dissimilar methods, that is, one group striking and another one lobbying, we had the same objective of fighting for the students’ best interests, i.e., having the policy revoked.
Much as I did not buy the idea of the Monday strike , I respect the decision of those who took that direction .
WAS I “BADLY” BEATEN?
Contrary to the sensational media reports, or is untrue that I was “roughed up and nearly lynched” by students during the strike, although I acknowledge that a few of them went physical at one point or another but they later reconsidered their actions.
Be that as it may, I understand that all this happened out of the frustration that these particular students – just like the rest of us – have due to these policies so no one should be victimised over the way I was treated.
WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD?
In the course of the day, I have had a chance to meet and chat with some members of the University Council and key players in the university’s administration.
Indeed, they have expressed willingness to revoke the policy but on condition that students present an alternative tuition policy which is not only convenient for them but also enables the university to function effectively.
I therefore come to you today seeking your ideas.
What do you think should be implemented as an alternative to the current tuition policy?
Let us engage in an objective, intellectual discussion about this.
“HISTORY WILL ABSOLVE ME”
The writer, Bala David Bwiruka is the Guild President, Makerere university