Makerere strike: Student loses hand to teargas canister explosion

Makerere University Guild President, Shamim Nambassa visits injured Ssebuganda
Written by: 
Kabera Angel

The peculiarity of life is that no one can, and no one will ever be able to know what the new day has in store for them. Chances are high that it could be your regular Tuesday spent lounging in your room and attending a lecture or two, but the possibility that something exorbitantly life-changing could occur is equally high. All residents of Lumumba hall, especially Richard Ssebuganda, bore witness to this peculiarity on Tuesday 8th February 2022.

Following the strike led by the Makerere University Guild the previous day; Monday 7th February 2022, brought about by students’ dissatisfaction with the university remaining partially open, the atmosphere on campus has been tense. Police and military officers have been deployed at several points on campus and strict measures have been put in place to monitor who gets in and out of the university. The demonstration that was meant to be peaceful has taken a drastic turn.

A loud bang on Tuesday afternoon reverberated through the walls of Lumumba Hall alarming all of its residents. Contrary to stereotypical African behavior, a few young gents rushed towards the noise and to their shock, they discovered an injured student; Ssebuganda Richard. The walls of Ssebuganda’s room were stained with blood and pieces of his flesh. He was immediately taken to the University Hospital for medical attention. The third-year Bachelor of Biomedical Science student residing in Lumumba hall had to have his right hand amputated due to severe injuries caused by the explosion.

According to some witnesses, a tear gas canister was spotted in Richard’s room by a friend with no sign of a police officer around. Upon being alerted of the canister, Richard proceeded to hold it with an intention of throwing it back outside his room. Before casting it out, Richard tried to open what he thought was an empty canister. To his dismay, the full canister exploded in his right hand. Images of a disheartened Richard are circulating around student social media platforms sending waves of pity, anger, and insurgence among students.