Tailors in Wandegeya have asked Makerere University management to
allow them produce and supply gowns during graduation ceremonies.
The tailors made the call amid the graduation gown crisis that threatened to
derail the institution’s four-day 70th graduation ceremony that ended on Friday.
The Makerere gown crisis had until days to graduation escalated with a supplier
communicating to the institution of his inability to supply the gowns on time,
prompting university officials to move from shop to shop in Wandegeya and other
suburbs to look for suppliers.
A number of the tailors who this reporter interviewed said the university
should learn from the 70th graduation gown mess and allow them an opportunity to supply in
the next graduation ceremonies.
They say they were contacted behind the scenes by Makerere officials at the
last minute to supply graduation gowns.
Frank Mugema, one of the tailors in Wandegeya says he managed to produce 450
graduation gowns on short notice. He, however, says him and his colleagues
could have made more money out of the gowns, had the university contacted them
“We have been able to make some money but not as we would have loved. This is
because we were not ready. Many of the services such as embroidery were got at
a higher price because there was stiff competition for the few machines. But in
case they see us as important people and give us contracts in time, such a
crisis cannot happen,” Mugema said.
While each student paid 98,000 shillings to the university for the gown, Mugema
says they were selling gowns to the university between 65,000 shillings and
According to Mugema, Wandegeya tailors managed to produce and supply close to
8,000 graduation gowns. He wants Makerere management to think of the local
tailors as a priority for supply of the academic dresses.
//Cue in “Bazinoonyezza muffee…
Cue out: …eziwela akanaana.”//
Gerald Mawanda, a tailor at Makerere-Wandegeya Small gate says he managed to
supply 500 gowns on short notice. He, however, says if he had prepared prior,
he has capacity to produce even 1,000 gowns.
//Cue in Ekintu kyabazitowako…
Cue out: …emitwalo mwenda mu kanaana.”//.
Before the University monopolized the sale of graduation gowns, patented in
2017, Wandegeya tailors supplied the gowns to all the graduands of Makerere
Tailors say they would pay 500,000 shillings to the university as a
qualification for the production of gowns.
“About 20 0r 15 contract tailors would be given space in the Mitchell Hall
quadrangle to start sewing the gowns under a supervision of a university
official who would ensure quality. I believe this arrangement can still work
since we have the capacity now and you can never hear of such crisis again,”
says Aloysius, an embroidery machine operator in Wandegeya.