Nawangwe calls for calm at Makerere as strike looms over unaddressed issues

Students in the Freedom Square at Makerere University.

Makerere Univeristy Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe has called on students to remain calm and study for upcoming g exams as the administration is “handling issues recently raised with the seriousness they deserve”.

Prof Nawangwe was reacting to a call by the students’ guild government for students to take action as their issues were being ingnored.

The guild government, led by recently elected president Papa Salim Were on Saturday organized a consultative meeting to discuss issues that are affecting students.

Among the issues that were to be addressed according to the minutes seen my PML Daily were the sex for marks scandals, scrapping of meals for students sleeping at the university and the recent declaration that evening classes had been scrapped.

According to a letter seen by PML Daily, Prof Nawangwe was invited to attend the meeting but he skipped it, something that aggravated students who called for action to start on Monday April 15, 2018, unitl their issues are addressed by the university.

“All the leaders who attended the meeting unanimously agreed with the Guild President to call for an industrial action commencing on Monday April 15, 2018,” Martins Kato, the Guild information minister told PML Daily.

However, after the declaration of the strike on Monday, the Vice chancellor responded to the strike threats saying that he is on an official travel outside Uganda but is ready to interact with the guild leadership on Wednesday next week upon his return.

He appealed to the guild leadership saying the strike isn’t necessary and called the Guild leadership to shun hooliganism and adopt a new culture of doing things.

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.

Below is Nawangwe’s full communication he posted in the WhatsApp group for government sponsored students at 9:36pm.

Gallant Makerereans, Hon. Kato Martins, Guild Information Minister has circulated information regarding a GRC meeting this morning and call for industrial action. In the communique, it is mentioned that I was invited to attend the GRC meeting and I did not attend. Indeed I received an invitation yesterday evening from the Guild President, H.E. Papa Were Salim to attend the GRC session this morning to answer queries regarding student concerns.

I immediately responded, informing the Guild President that I would be unable to attend due to an earlier scheduled engagement and requested that the GRC submits a written petition to enable me consult before giving credible responses.

As I write, I am at a meeting lobbying for a scholarship programme to help our economically disadvantaged students. Regarding the issues I have seen raised in a post by Mr. Frank Bwambale, I wish to once again reiterate that evening programmes have not been scrapped. Indeed, we have already advertised for evening programmes for the next academic year! On the issue of student meals for the 2000 resident Government sponsored Students, this matter is now before Parliament and we have to wait for their recommendation. Regarding sexual harassment, you all know that I am handling this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

I have appointed a committee to handle all cases of sexual harassment and I urge you Gallant Makerereans to interact with the Committee.

Let me take this opportunity to assure you gallant Makerereans that I cherish cordial working relationship with the Guild and I have indeed done so for the last five years. I respect Guild Presidents as an important component of Mak Management. I respect all the gallant Makerereans. I am on official travel outside Uganda and I am ready to interact with the GRC on Wednesday next week upon my return.

Meanwhile, I call upon all the gallant Makerereans to stay calm and go about their studies in preparation for the exams coming soon. TOGETHER, let us uphold the new peace at Mak and resolve all problems amicably through negotiation and not violence. Let us uphold this new culture and make our great University shine again internationally and restore respect to the Makerere graduate. Eh Makerere Oyeee!



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