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Students Leave After Makerere Closure

Makerere University students have started leaving after the institution was closed indefinitely on Thursday morning. The university was closed after lecturers refused to call off a two-week strike over a salary increment.
Makerere University students have started leaving after the institution was closed indefinitely on Thursday morning.

 

The university was closed after lecturers refused to call off a two-week strike over a salary increment.

 

A URN reporter at the university reports seeing students parking personal belongings including TV sets, radio sets and suitcases among others and using private cars to leave the institution.

 

At a general assembly meeting called on Thursday by the university council chairman, Dr. Peter Wana Etyem, the lecturers vowed not resume teaching until government doubles their pay.

 

Etyem also asked students, who reported on August 13th to vacate the halls of residence peacefully and go back home. Arrangements are being made to give students their transport allowances. But students from the College of Health Sciences, international students and students with disabilities will however stay at the university and be accommodated in one hall.

 

Some of the students led by their guild president, Denis Oneka first tried to gather in the Freedom Square to protest the closure but were blocked by police already deployed in the area. The students complained that they got the news of the closure from the media and that no university official told them officially.

 

Godfrey Laboke, a third year student of education carried his mattress on hearing the news and moved to Freedom Square, vowing to sleep there because he did not have transport to take him home. He was, however chased away by the police.

Crispus Mugabi, guild minister for East African Affairs said they cannot entertain a university closure through the back door. He noted that such a decision should have first been communicated to students through the guild council.

 

Grace Turyagumanawe, the Kampala Metropolitan police commander met students and asked them to go back to their halls of residence and register so as to get transport to travel back home. It was not clear who was to give them transport and how much each would get.

 

The lecturers under their umbrella, Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) are also pushing for their pension scheme money amounting to 16 billion shillings being held by National Insurance Corporation. But the insurer insists it is 13 billion shillings.

 

Dr Wana Etyem says he had no option but to close the 89-year-old institution. He told all teaching staff to hand over all university property under their care on Friday and wait for a communication from government.

 

Dr Etyem was still in a meeting with top university officials by the time we filed this report.

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