Inside Makerere's Four-Day Strike

Written by: 
Derrick Lwanga


A strike against tuition increment has entered day four at Makerere University with no sign of either side compromising.

Students at Uganda’s biggest and oldest university went on strike on Tuesday to a 15% progressive fees increment on their tuition which is supposed to be done for five years. The policy started in the academic year 2018/2019 and it only affects new students, not the continuing ones.

Since Tuesday, students have been in running battles with the police and the army all over the university campus. The strike has since turned nasty with a joint force comprising the army and the police raiding Lumumba Hall on Thursday night and arresting students. Some of the student leaders, including the guild president Julius Kateregga, are among hundreds of students that have been arrested since the strike started on Tuesday.

In his communication, Dr Mohamed Kiggundu, who heads the Communication and International Affairs office at Makerere, said that the students are striking for no reason as they are not affected by the 15% fees increment and they have not faced any increment in their tuition this semester.

Inside the Policy

The progressive 15% fees increment took effect in the academic year 2018/2019 and it is supposed to move for five years. It came into force in the 2017/2018 and the second increment was put on the increased figure.

In the table below, we break the figures, assuming that a student was paying one million shillings before the policy came into force.


Academic year

Tuition being paid/ to be paid

Increased amount

2017/2018 before increment



2018/2019 =17/18+15%



2019/2020 =18/19+15%



2020/2021 =19/20+15%



2021/2022 =20/21+15%



2022/2023 =21/22+15%





Responding to Dr Kiggundu, Annet Humura, a fourth year journalism student expressed dissatisfaction towards the policy saying the administration is not telling the truth to the public.

“It’s our right to fight for a better Makerere, they claim the policy is not affecting us, then what about our brothers and sisters who what to come and join? Will they be able to? Why don’t they break down the figures for everyone to understand it well other than lamenting,” she asked.

James Arok, a fresh year student, also said the policy was unfair to them because they thought Makerere being a public university; its tuition should be subsidized to fit in every class of Uganda.

In his reaction Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor, said those leading the strikes are seeking political capital and the administration is not willing to accept such hooliganism.

Courtesy Photo