With the lecturers’ strike heading into its third week at Makerere University, and no end in sight, students have threatened to take action by themselves.
The students through their leadership, the university guild announced Monday that they will be withdrawing their cooperation with the university management, and deciding on their next course of action, since the university leadership seems to remain indifferent.
The announcement comes just days after the university Guild Representative Council met with the University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, during which the former “expressed their desire to return to class immediately.”
Nawangwe is at the center of the of the impasse, having dismissed several lecturers from the university including the heads of the staff associations MUASA, MASA and NUEI.
The striking lecturers want their colleagues’ suspensions rescinded.
17 days into the new semester with no classes taking place, students leaders say they have been patient enough.
They are also unhappy that the university management has falsely claimed that that lectures were ongoing.
“It is regrettable that the university management has deliberately elected to deny the existence of a strike, and to misrepresent the true state of affairs at the university by consistently misleading the general public that lectures are happening in the university, whereas not,” said Makerere Guild Speaker Isaac Kwagala.
“As students we have remained calm and patient hoping that this dispute can be resolved amicably by both management and the staff associations. With the greater part of two weeks gone, and with the dispute now into 17 days, we realize that the patience of the students is being taken for granted.”
Kwagala says the Students’ Guild had recently offered to mediate between the striking staff and management, with hope to reach consensus that would see academic activities start as both sides carry on with negotiations.
“The university council has since not responded to our letter, perhaps because they pay no attention to the student’s voice or perhaps because they are so vain as to believe that they are not answerable and accountable to students or their leaders, or even both.”
He says the guild has as such resolved to withdraw all cooperation with University management”
“The student Guild will, for as long as all students are not studying…, not deal with management in any matter, including but not limited to participating or organizing the forthcoming Guild Government elections.”
Also if no consensus is reached by the end of today, the student leaders said they will be holding a students’ General Assembly on Wednesday at the freedom square, to “determine the next course of action”