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What it will take to restore the Ivory Tower

By Charles Etukuri

Added 23rd September 2020 10:14 AM

The university could use this incident as an opportunity to construct a better and bigger building

What it will take to restore the Ivory Tower

The university could use this incident as an opportunity to construct a better and bigger building

Makerere University vice-chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on Sunday gave the public an assurance that the university would embark on immediate restoration of the university's main building.

Nawangwe said the university administration was determined to restore the iconic building because it is symbolic and that they would not want to lose the uniqueness of the institution.

He added that they would not want to celebrate 100 years without the main building.

"It is a dark moment for Makerere University, but it is not the end of Makerere. The Ivory Tower is still going to be existent," Nawangwe assured.

The education ministry's permanent secretary Alex Kakooza said the construction of the tower would start as soon as the investigations are complete.

"We hope investigations start and are completed as soon as possible, then we shall go into the analysis to see what should be done. Are we going to demolish everything and start afresh? Is there something that we can salvage?" Kakooza asked.

Kakooza said the building had already developed cracks. He added that after carrying out an analysis on whether to save or destroy the entire building, they would then establish the cost. He said the Government would then meet and decide on how to fund the entire process.

Eng. James Olonya, the Uganda National Association of Building and Civil Engineering Board director, said the education ministry and Makerere University need to ascertain the severity of the fire before determining what next.

Olonya warned that if the fire was severe, then it would be pointless for Government to think of renovating the building because it would not carry additional weight on top for long.

He said if those who had built the Ivory Tower used stones, then the building could be merely renovated, but that if it was cement, the columns could have expanded with heat, making it dangerous.

He also said Makerere University could use this incident as an opportunity to construct a better and bigger building, noting that the current structure did not represent the latest technology.

Not all financial information was lost

New Vision has learnt from experts that even though the finance offices were destroyed, all is not lost because most of the information related to the university financial matters were backed up at the finance ministry through the Integrated Financial Management System (IFIMS).

"What was destroyed were the actual documents and receipts that back up the payment, but all financial transactions are with the finance ministry," the source explained.

Keith Muhakanizi, the permanent secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, confirmed that all payments the university had done through IFIMS were backed up.

"If this was an intentional fire and somebody burnt that building with the hope that he had destroyed the financial records, then he has failed, because all money transactions done through IFIMS are backed up at the finance ministry," Muhakanizi said.

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