Makerere University Guild cabinet has suspended the Prime Minister, Johnson Obbo, over what they have termed as misuse of office.
This followed Obbo’s letter dated November 1 and addressed to all the university stakeholders where he called off the students’ strike against tuition increment policy, saying that the Parliament of Uganda had issued directives to the university management to resolve the issue.
“We encourage students to seriously resume lecturers and utilize the remaining weeks to complete all course work and coursework assignments; but also prepare adequately for exams,” read part of Obbo’s letter.
But according to the Guild Information Minister, Jackson Shemah Mayambala, this was total betrayal of students because the decision was not discussed by the guild council.
“Obbo has misrepresented us. How could he call off the strike before our demands are met?” wondered Mayambala.
The information minister went ahead to say that Obbo did not participate in the strike and therefore had not moral authority to call if off, adding that his deputy, Marion kyomugisha, has now taken over the office.
But Obbo’s suspension has since drawn mixed reactions from the students. Joyce Mollan termed it was reckless and irrational.
"Do parents kill us or disown when we commit mistakes or rather they advise us? What was the reason of suspending Obbo for such a small issue?" Mollan queried.
According to the Makerere University NRM Chapter Chairman, Macxzzon Muhwezi, Obbo has been at at the forefront of fighting against the tuition increment policy and should not have been suspended.
For Vanitah Kajumba, also a student, Obbo deserved the suspension. What he did was against what took him to the August House. He is supposed to represent the students' views and fight for the students not to fight against them or pretend to be neutral. I believe he deserved the suspension and it should be an example to rest of the student leaders,” Kajumba said.
Another student who preferred anonymity said this has not been the first time that Obbo has been suspended from his office.
“Obbo faced suspension the time he tasked the guild president to pay students he who lent him money during the campaigns. The second suspension was as a result of him handing over the agriculture week to some individuals from Senate and School of Agriculture who even took the courage to invite the president without the knowledge of the guild president,” disclosed the source.
By the time of filling this story, the duration of the suspension and likely punishment for Obbo were still unclear.
For two weeks now, Makerere University students have been demonstrating over the cumulative 15 percent tuition increment policy which was effected in the academic year 2018/2019. Students say it is unfair likely to block students from humble backgrounds from accessing the university.
A series of meetings between student leaders and the university administration have all been fruitless, and now students say they will maintain the demonstration until the policy is revoked.