The 70th graduation ceremony which is scheduled to start on Tuesday, January 14 has suffered a major setback arising out of the delayed issuance of graduation gowns to the graduands. Only 7,000 out of more than 13,000 graduands have so far been able to secure gowns, as the ceremonies draw closer.
The Makerere University Students Guild
has given the university management an ultimatum of the close of business today, to
ensure all graduating students receive their gowns, or they block the
The 70th graduation ceremony
which is scheduled to start on Tuesday, January 14 has suffered a major setback
arising out of the delayed issuance of graduation gowns to the graduands. Only
7,000 out of more than 13,000 graduands have so far been able to secure gowns,
as the ceremonies draw closer.
Initial reports indicated that
the supplier; Team uniforms limited, was holding the gowns until his outstanding
balance for the production of patented gowns for last year’s graduation
ceremony, has been cleared. Makerere University charges up to 98,000 Shillings
from each student as the cost of the graduation gown.
It is for this reason that the student’s
guild had convened a press conference, to address journalist on the matter. But
the guild leaders who had turned up for a 10 a.m. briefing were welcomed by
police deployment at their offices, and as a result, the briefing was foiled.
Nonetheless, Joshua Lawel Muhwezi, the
Makerere Guild Information Minister says the absence of gowns a day before the
ceremonies, casts a dark shadow on what is supposed to be a moment for celebrating
“The moments preceding
graduations are always those of excitement, warmth and joy. Unfortunately,
today we find ourselves in the opposite of this situation. With thousands of
students yet to get their gowns, [College of Humanities and Social Sciences]
alone which is the biggest college that has more than 2000 has not received a
single gown or cap,” Muhwezi said.
Muhwezi argues that Makerere
University does not lack funds but rather suffers from financial mismanagement
and under-utilization of its assets.
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Muhwezi alludes to a syndicate in
the production of gowns at the university, pointing out that such operations
are the reason the university found itself in a crisis.
“We have information that this is
just one of the syndicates, they usually play in the senate and the main building, the
the contractor has roots in the senate and now someone wants the contracts and hence
the sabotage and now we are all in a crisis and this is what happens every
other day, we have a mere group of hungry mafias leading the university,
permanent members of the council,” he adds.
According to Muhwezi, before the
institution resurrects the debate of fees increment, financial management and
issues of university management should be settled. He wondered why a university that had in 2009
emphasized that it was doing away with non-core business and only concentrate
on teaching and training, research, knowledge transfer would now be directly
involved in the production of gowns.
The students said that the
university management has only today, to meet its side of the bargain by ensuring
that all graduating students have their gowns before the beginning of the
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Nawangwe, the institution’s Vice Chancellor has insisted that the graduation
will proceed as scheduled despite the inconveniences caused to the parents and
Professor Nawangwe in a statement
released on Sunday, January 12, 2020, apologized to the graduands citing that the
university had put in place emergency measures to ensure that gowns are ready
for the ceremonies to proceed.
“Management regrets the
inconvenience and anxiety created by the contractor’s failure to honour the
contract and assures all the graduands that everything necessary is being done
to ensure a smooth graduation ceremony,” Nawangwe added.