7:19 pm - Tuesday September 23, 2014

Makerere Staff Strike: Students Give Ultimatum

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The students acknowledge that lecturers’ demands to have their salaries doubled are justifiable ‘as employees at the continent’s 4th best university working for such peanuts is deplorable.’

Lecturers at the beginning of this week extended their quest to have their monthly pay elevated by 100 percent, following last week’s pronouncement to parliament by Vice Chancellor Prof. Ddumba Sentamu that the university is already in a Shs 50bn debt and would not be in position to implement the pay raise.

Staffs have since laid down their tools and advised the University Council to halt students from reporting for the soon opening next academic year’s first semester, as there won’t be classes for them.

Makerere’s Guild president, Anna Adeke said in a press briefing on Thursday that they would not watch as their right to education is toyed with by government.

“This demand [by lecturers] is not new and neither is it unique, but the circumstances it will lead us into will not be tolerated by the students body,” she said.

“Government has dragged us too far and this time round we will put a final stop to it.”

She said on the expiry of the August 14th deadline, if government doesn’t move in with a solution, they would summon all Makerere students to give up on their holidays and come to attend the matter, together with their parents.

Apparently the announced strike has already affected B COM Students studying in holidays whose studies have had to be discontinued.

Being a public holiday, the University’s spokesperson Ritah Namisango could not immediately respond to our requests for comments.

Meanwhile the students came down hard on the recently passed Public Order Management Bill and vowed that it would never be applied anywhere inside the gates of Makerere.

Adeke noted: “We are waiting for President Museveni to ascend his signature to that bill and that is when Makerere will cease being part of Uganda.”

“On the same August 14 deadline, we want government to have removed all its teargas tankers from our campus as well as army personnel who were literally poured into the campus on Tuesday morning. Failure to do this, we will declare ourselves independent from this country,” she added.

As part of the country’s literate class, Adeke noted that students academic space is an avenue of expression protected by Article 29(b) and (d) of the constitution and they would protect it at all costs.

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