Senior Presidential Advisor in charge of Special Operations, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has called for a swift investigation into the fire incident at Makerere University.
“This is a tragedy and it’s unacceptable,” said Muhoozi on his personal Twitter handle.
“I hope the relevant authorities quickly establish whether this was an accident or foul play,” he added.
His remarks come amid preliminary reports showing the fire started from the roof of the accounts department.
The office of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and human resource departments have also been affected.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesman, Luke Oweyesigire said in a statement released on Sunday morning that, “the fire is believed to have started from the roof spreading to floors that house both records and finance departments, a lot of property has been destroyed.”
“Investigations are ongoing to ascertain the exact cause of the fire,” he emphasised.
Makerere University administrators have lately featured in several corruption allegations.
In 2018, the Deputy Academic Registrar in charge of Certificates, Ceremonies and Publications, Roy Margaret Etuusa Lubega was arrested and charged by the anti-corruption court for flouting procurement laws, regulations and procedures.
The charges stemmed from the irregular procurement of companies to provide services during the 67th Graduation Ceremony in February 2017.
The 79-year-old Main Administration Building is considered one of Uganda’s most famous landmarks.
Muhoozi today said he was “confident we can rebuild our building soon.”
Heavily armed military and police personnel have been deployed at Makerere in what is seen as part of a wider investigation into the fire.
Special Forces operators arrived at Makerere this morning possibly to strengthen security at the campus during the investigation into the fire incident.
Pictures of the burning Ivory Tower flooded social media with many saying they were personally touched by the tragedy.
“It is a very dark morning for Makerere University,” said Makerere University Vice Chancellor Barnabus Nawangwe.
“Our iconic Main Administration Building caught fire and the destruction is unbelievable. But we are determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible.”
The fire started at around 1:00am on Sunday.
It remains unclear if there were any administrators at the the building.
At 1:27am Police Fire Brigade struggled to put out the raging flames which had covered almost half of the roof.
By 7:00am, some sections of the building were saved from the fire.
Facts about the building
Construction of the main building was completed in 1941 under the leadership of Mr. George C. Turner, Principal, Makerere College (1939-46).
Earlier in 1938, the Duke of Gloucester, representing His Majesty King George VI had cut the first sod for the construction of the building on 3rd November.
The Main Building with its unique 20th century British architecture is easily Makerere’s most recognisable symbol and was constructed with funds from the Colonial Development bourse.
The building’s construction was greatly delayed by a scarcity of resources to purchase materials as Britain and her allies grappled with the expenses of World War II.
As a result, some of the carpentry work had to be done on-site at the Technical College.
The Principal then focused on turning Makerere into a University College and establishing buildings.
As a result both the St. Francis and St. Augustine Chapels were completed in the same year 1941 and by 1944, plans for the establishment of a School of Civil Engineering at Makerere were already being discussed by the British House of Commons