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MUK Students' Strike Blocked

There is tension at Makerere University after police blocked students who wanted to stage a strike.
There is tension at Makerere University after police blocked students who wanted to stage a strike.

 

The students gathered at Freedom Square on Wednesday morning as their leaders took a walk around different schools and colleges. After establishing that no teaching was going on, they agreed to take their complaints to Parliament Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and higher education minister, John Chrisestom Muyingo.

 

The students started chanting “we want lectures” as they moved towards the university’s main gate. But police intercepted them before reaching the gate and blocked them from going out. Kampala Metropolitan police commander, Grace Turyagumanawe began addressing students, asking them not to move to parliament. Some of the students were heard telling Turyagumanawe that they have been at the university for two weeks and have not had even a single lecture, yet they have paid their money.

 

Jonah Oboth, a third year social sciences student told URN reporter that the new students, who reported on August 13th, have not even seen a university timetable.

 

The students asked Turyagumanawe to escort them to parliament and ministry of education instead of blocking them. But the police officer said it is not safe for such a huge procession to move to town, let alone parliament.

 

The students are accusing their striking lecturers of refusing to teach them, two days after announcing that they had called off the sit-down strike. The university lecturers have been on a two-week strike pushing for a 100% pay rise, a demand government says is unrealistic.

 

Dr. Tanga Odoi, the academic staff chairman on Monday called off the lecturers’ strike after meeting Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi and officials from the ministry of finance. But other lecturers resolved to go on with the strike. Odoi, who said he turned up to teach on Wednesday, told URN that he sees no reason for the strike to go on.

 

The vice chancellor, Prof. Venancius Baryamureeba on Tuesday issued an ultimatum for all lecturers to start teaching on Wednesday or face disciplinary measures. The professor is reportedly scheduled to chair a management meeting at 2pm on Wednesday, the details of which URN could not easily ascertain. Dr. Odoi confirmed the meeting but also declined to give details.

 

The students are now gathered near the main gate, singing and taunting policemen, who are deployed in the area.

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