The Management of Makerere University has said it will not tolerate hooliganism, in response to a students’ strike that has so far lasted two days.
Violence broke out at Uganda’s oldest and highest institution of learning on Wednesday following a strike that began on Tuesday.
A group of female students leading the demonstration who were marching to present a petition (protesting the fees hike) to the Office of the President when Military Police personnel blocked them at the university’s main gate.
At least 20 students were arrested by Police and later released on bond on the same day.
Students are protesting the 15 percent cumulative increment in tuition fees.
The Guild President, Julius Kateregga and the Guild Speaker among other dozens of students were Wednesday arrested by Police after the strike turned violent.
On Wednesday, angry students carried on with protests in the different parts of the campus, prompting Police to fire teargas in a bid to contain the violent situation. The protests later spread to Kikoni where a majority of the private students’ residences are situated.
The rioting students blocked the Sir Apollo Kagwa Road which separates the campus and Kikoni, with burning tyres and other objects, disrupting traffic flow. Other roads within the Kikoni area were also been blocked. Anti-riot Police could be seen engaging in running battles with students who were on the offensive.
Inside the university, the protesters moved around mobilizing other students and forcing those who were engaging in lectures out, to join the protest.
The university Management issued a statement on Thursday warning what it called hooliganism.
“For two days, a group of Makerere students has been leading mini demonstrations on campus, claiming they are protesting against non-existent fees increment. Apparently strategizing and positioning themselves for the next Guild elections, ” the statement reads in part.
“Management wishes to warn all those errant students that a return to hooliganism at Makerere will not be tolerated and they should concentrate on their studies”.
The Management had refuted the claim by students regarding an increment in tuition fees.
“Every student joins the University with a Fees structure and continues with that Fees structure until they complete, ” the university said.
The Management was silent on the reports that some students have been suspended allegedly for their involvement in this week’s strike.
Ever since Prof Barnabas Nawangwe took over office as the University Vice Chancellor, he has taken a harsher stance against undisciplined students, issuing several of them suspensions. His critics say his approach suppresses dissent by using oppressive methods.