Parliament has ordered the Management of Makerere University to withdraw the suspensions against students that were allegedly involved in the ongoing strike over the 15 percent tuition increment.
The call was among a number of resolutions highlighted by the legislators during a heated debate which lasted over two hours. They were reacting to a statement presented by the Minister for Higher Education, Eng. John C. Muyingo regarding the unrest at Makerere University which has so far lasted ten days.
Students at Makerere have been on strike since Monday last week protesting the 15% increment in tuition fees which they say is unfair.
During Thursday’s debate in Parliament, the Masaka municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga who doubles as the Shadow Minister of Education said that Makerere is a public institution and as such, the obligation lies on government to fund the university.
He informed the Minister that the comparisons in fees should not be done with any private institution but with other public institutions like Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) which pay less.
The National female Youth MP, Ann Adeke Ebaju said that there is so much tension at the University also citing the decision (communicated through social media) by the Vice Chancellor to suspend students.
“If the Vice Chancellor can go and stalk students on their Facebook accounts and use that as evidence to suspend and expel them, we are in doubt. Who does the VC think he is to start gagging students the way he is?” Adeke queried.
After the debate, the Mpuuga read out a summary of resolutions that members had agreed upon during the long debate.
These resolutions included: directing the university Management to rescind all suspensions against students and instead establish mechanisms of resolving the situation through civil means,
Directing the Minister of Defense and Internal Affairs to withdraw all the military from the university and students’ hostels as well as directing the Police to exercise restraint, observe human rights and protects the lives and property of citizens.
Parliament has also recommended that government halts any fees increment policy until a sustainable remedy to finance the university is established by all stakeholders.
Legislators also want an investigation into allegations of sexual abuses by security forces against students, government to table a supplementary budget request and ease on the suffering of students until a sustainable finance mechanism of the university is established.
They further want claims of mismanagement of the university by the current management probed.
The House has also recommended that the Auditor General carries out a forensic audit on alleged financial mismanagement.
Parliament also resolved that the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nawangwe steps aside to allow an investigation on mismanagement of the university.
The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga as well ruled that the Education Committee investigates the unrest at the university and report back to the house on November 13, 2019.
Nine students from Makerere University have so far been suspended for allegedly destroying University property, injuring fellow students and vandalizing property for businesses operating outside the university, during the ongoing strike against the tuition fees hike.
Some other 26 students have been issued a warning from the University Management over the same.
The disciplinary action comes a day after the Makerere University Council gave the Students Disciplinary Committee a two-week time frame to have concluded on the issue of the four students who were suspended by the University Management last week.A