TROUBLE IN MAKERERE: lecturers go on strike as student leaders attack VC

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With just a few weeks remaining to end of semester exams, Makerere University lecturers have again gone on strike, demanding for incentive arrears totaling to Shs 28billion.

While meeting as Makerere University Academic
Staff Association (MUASA) yesterday, lecturers said the university administration has remained oblivious of the fact that they have gone eight months without getting this money, something that has left them with no option but to lay down their tools.

"After a lengthy discussion, the general assembly has unanimously resolved to lay down their tools effective midnight until all incentive arrears are paid," reads part of the letter that is signed by MUASA chairman Dr Muhammad Kiggundu and addressed to the university council's chairman, Dr Eng Charles Wana-Etyem.


Following yesterday's suspension of 15 students by the Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu on grounds that they stole 200 forks from University Hall's kitchen and vandalised property, the 82nd guild leaders held an emergency meeting where they criticised Prof Ddumba-Ssentamu's action.

The meeting was held from Livingstone's Senior Common Room at 4pm where they unanimously agreed that the action taken against their collegues was illegal.

"This move by Prof Ddumba-Ssentamu was irrational, unjust and unconstitutional that it even aborogates the supreme law of the land," said one of the law students who is a top member in the guild

The same student, who preffered to remain anonymous in the media, also cited the right to fair hearing before a punishment is served which Ddumba-Ssentamu didn't consider.This was approved as a stand of the guild in a motion that was recorded by Imram Kasujja, the guild speaker.

But according to the public relations officer of the university, Ritah Namisango, the Vice Chancellor's action is legal. "The VC has powers to suspend a student from the University or to discipline him in any manner he thinks fit and seek approval of his actions at the next meeting of the University Disciplinary Committee," she said.

The guild President, Roy Ssembogga, equally expressed his dissatisfaction with the way this matter was handled.

" It is so ashaming that the Vice chancellor deemed it right to suspend students and in fact some student leaders from the University without consulting the guild President," Ssembogga said.

Ssembogga further argued that Ddumba's suspension letter is itself an indefinite suspension because the disciplinary committee which has to resolve the matter has no specific time of sitting.

"The committee can sit tomorrow, next month or perharps next year since the vice chancellor didn't indicate the date, as well" he added.

He therefore concluded that the stand of the guild leaders is that the suspended students must be allowed to come back to the university immediately.

Kasujja, however, advised the leaders that they need to hear from Prof Ddumba first before they take the next step as student leaders to demand a revoke of his letter. He therefore called for a meeting at 2:30pm on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 in the main hall where he promised to ensure the attendance of the vice chancellor as well.

"We need to give space to dialogue and if it fails, we shall of course take the next step,"Kasujja said.

Aggrey Katulege Kizito, the chairman Mitchell hall, however advised his fellows that they need to communicate in a 'language' that the university administration understands, which to him is the strike.

Among the suspended students is Wanyera Simon (GRC school of education), Tworo Aziz (GRC Mitchell hall) Gerald Kammanah (chairman Lumumba hall).