Makerere University student leaders yesterday cited “fraud, suspicion, dishonesty and weak leadership” as some of the reasons for the current stand-off that has rocked the university over the past days.
David Musiri, one of the students who has twice been suspended, told members of parliament that the ruckus at Makerere was directly linked to the way the new tuition policy was handled at inception in 2018 by the former student leadership.
After returning from a benchmarking trip from Nairobi University last year, Musiri says some student leaders were compromised into accepting the “untenable idea” of fees increment.
“Some of them were promised trips to America and I think that is not right. We have evidence” he said.
With their resistance partially broken, Musiri says, a proposal to increase tuition was then sneaked to the university council which proceeded to pass it without student representation.
Abbas Muyombo, a representative of students with disabilities says the new tuition structure was supposed to be annually reviewed which has not happened.
“Students did not just go on strike, they challenged all those things before tribunals and judgments came out to prove that this increment procedurally had been wrong”, he points out.
Derrick Obedgua a former literature association president says ever since this scheme was enacted there has been no accountability given the ailing state of most facilities.
“We are not seeing any value, I sleep in Mitchel and the toilet where I sleep stinks. This money has not worked in any way”
It is on the basis of this that Obedgua says students opted to take a firm stand to deter future students from incurring these unfair costs.
The Greater Good
As to why current students that aren’t affected by the 15% fees hike are pushing this fight, Obedgua says for some this matter is personal.
Obedgua says he knows what it means having dropped out once in 2014 due to tuition problems and as such is cognizant of challenges that children from humble backgrounds face.
“My father passed on and I am the eldest. My mum is ailing. I worked at Chicken Tonight as a cleaner. I worked at Café Javas as a waiter trying to raise tuition” he says.
Julius Kateregga, the guild president blames Makerere for refusing to venture in money making project and resorting to pressing students for its financial needs.
Kateregga says there are six university firms including the university press that remain unutilized yet they could fetch a lot of money.
Some members of parliament however, blamed the students for “shifting goal posts.”
“I am saying this when the guild president is here, many times you people agree to positions in council. It becomes the operating law for the university. Then you jump out and deny,” said Hon Opolot