By CONAN BUSINGE
and ANDREW SSENYONGA
MAKERERE University was yesterday closed indefinitely after staff refused to resume work until their demands are settled. The university council chairman, Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem, met the staff in an attempt to convince them to call off the week-long strike.
However, the support, administrative and academic staff, who were on strike, unanimously voted to continue with the strike.
After vice-chancellor Prof.Venansius Baryamureeba and Wana-Etyemaâ€™s appeals failed, they left the meeting to allow the three wings of the staff to make a resolution.
After about an hour, the general meeting reconvened and the academic and administrative staff vowed not to call off the strike.
The support staff agreed to follow the general consensus, meaning all the staff had resolved to continue with the strike.
After the staff resolution, Wana-Etyem ruled: â€œIt is a situation where there is no harmony on how a university should be managed. I regret to inform you that it has been closed indefinitely.â€
â€œI request you to be civilised. You must take personal responsibility. Please hand over all university property in your custody,â€ he said.
â€œThe university council will communicate later on the way forward,â€ Wana-Etyem added.
He appealed to students to peacefully vacate the campus.
â€œWe will escort students to town. For international students, transport fares to your final destinations will be refunded.â€
But the college of health sciences, whose lecturers were teaching, will remain operating.
â€œStudents from this college who were studying and any other disabled and international students will be housed in a designated hall.â€ Wana-Etyem added: â€œI am sorry it has come to this point. But someone has to take responsibility. Remember that each of you was hired alone as an individual.â€
As he talked, the staff went dead silent. They did not seem to have anticipated the university would be closed.
MUBS not affected
University publicist Ahmed Walugembe said the closure did not affect Makerere University Business School (MUBS).
He said although the two istitutions collaborate academically, MUBS has autonomy over its finances and administration.
This is the second time Makerere is being closed over staff strikes in five years.
There was panic at the campus as students hurriedly packed their belongings to leave. The Police deployed heavily to prevent violence.
There was traffic jam as parents rushed to pick their children.