Today marks one month of Makerere closure

By Kenneth Niwamanya

Added 1st December 2016 10:09 AM

The institution was shut after a two-week-long standoff between lecturers and University management.

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KAMPALA - It's exactly one month since Makerere University was put under lock and key by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

This was after a two-week-long standoff between lecturers and university management triggered by non-payment of nine months incentive arrears tuning up to sh28bn that had sucked in the students.

Backed by Section 26(2) of the University and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended, Makerere University was closed on November 1 following a presidential directive to ensure safety of persons and properties.

"I, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the president of republic of Uganda have this 1st day of November 2016, pursuant to the powers vested in me by the constitution of republic of Uganda section 26(2) of the University and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended, decided to close Makerere University with immediate effect, until further notice, in order to guarantee safety of persons and property," the letter by President Museveni read.

In order to find a lasting solution for Makerere's problems, on November 14, Museveni appointed a nine-member visitation committee chaired by Abel Rwendeire, deputised by Lady Justice Ketra Katunguka, to look into the affairs of the embattled university.

In a letter to the Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu, Museveni wrote:

"It is for these reasons that I am setting up a Visitation Committee to conduct an Inquiry into Makerere University. This is not the first time I have set up such a visitation committee.

"The new committee will review the reports of the old committees, find out what was implemented or not implemented and why, as well as making new recommendations if necessary.

"Therefore, In the Exercise of the Powers vested in the President by Section 26 of the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended, I have appointed a Visitation Committee of Inquiry into the affairs of the university."

On November 26, Eng. Charles Wana-Etyem, the chairperson of the University Council, which is the supreme governing body, made a declaration that all staff of Makerere will not receive salaries until the university is re-opened.

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the university will not be able to pay the salaries until the university is opened and students have paid fees," the letter read.

Lecturers went on a sit-down strike on September 5, protesting the decision by the university management to cut their allowances by 75%.

Nine days later, on September 14, lecturers suspended the strike, giving the University Councila six-week (up to October 21) ultimatum to review the decision.

On October 25, lecturers unanimously endorsed to remain on strike until their nine months arrears are cleared.

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