Complaints as "Box" Sanitation Declines

Written by: 
Fiona Laker

Students residing in Mary Stuart Hall have raised concerns about what they call the deteriorating sanitary conditions in the residence.

The students have complained about the bathrooms, toilets and drainage system at the oldest girls’ hall of residence at Makerere.  

Catherine Nasonko, who has lived in Mary Stuart for two years, says the bathrooms are cleaned only once a day, “but since we are so many it is not long before they get dirty and I mean really dirty.”

Habiba Nalubega, another resident in the 66-year-old hall says there is scarcity of water which makes it difficult to use, or maintain, the toilets. “We are so many so the water we have in the tanks gets used up quickly and, like you have seen, not many of the taps work,” she explained.

Charlotte Kampiire, another student staying at Mary Stuart, says that the bathrooms are sometimes not cleaned or sometimes cleaned half way. “Of recent we decided to clean our own bathrooms,” she remarked.

Commonly known as Box, Mary Stuart is the largest girls’ hall of residence with nine floors. An extension on either side of the main tower has two floors. It is home to 450 students.

One of the cleaners, who declined to be named, told this reporter that there are few cleaners and that when the supervisor is not around some workers clean half way. She said that in the previous years there was a cleaner on each floor but now only two people clean the whole wing. “By the time they are half way they are too exhausted to do a thorough job,” she explained.

She noted that only four people clean all the toilets on each of the nine floors of the main tower and in the wings.

About the drainage system, she said there was a pipe that burst and was not attended to for a long time. She however noted that there are students that keep throwing rubbish from their windows making the environment outside the hall dirty.

There was an event last semester where scarcity of water caused some students to even go back home. The university administration has not commented on this story.

Built in the early 1953, Mary Stuart Hall was named after Mary, the wife Bishop Edgar Stuart, the third Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Uganda. The couple arrived in Uganda in 1935 and served until the bishop’s retirement in 1953.

While Bishop Stuart ministered to the church and promoted education and development, Mary worked hard for the empowerment of women. It was through her efforts that the first female students were admitted at Makerere University in 1949.

Upon her death in June 2000, Mary Stuart’s ashes were transported to Uganda and buried at Namirembe Cathedral, next to her husband who passed on in 1982.