KAMPALA– President Museveni has summoned top leaders of Makerere University to State House Entebbe to discuss several issues affecting the university.
Highly placed sources at the university told this website that the administrators were summoned on Wednesday at short notice and that none of them were briefed on what they expect to be the meeting’s agenda.
When contacted, the Personal Assistant of Eng. Dr Charles Wana-Etyem, the University Council chairperson, confirmed that the university leaders are supposed to meet the President on Thursday but did not know the time and agenda.
However, State House sources said the meeting is expected to focus on the standoff over the controversial 15% tuition increment recently approved by the university leadership. The University Council recently approved a 15% tuition increment for the new students starting in the next academic year that starts in July.
Members of Parliament on Tuesday poked holes in the fees increment, saying it contradicts government’s policy of providing free and inclusive education.
It is not clear whether the President is in support of the fees policy, which a section of students’ leaders have since vowed to strike over, saying it is not reasonable.
In April, students protested against the new policies introduced by the university administration, including increased tuition, scrapping of meals from the halls of residences, replacement of government sponsorship with a loan scheme and the removal of evening lectures in some colleges.
The meeting is also expected to discuss the salary enhancement for staff, which was not concluded in the 2018/2019 national budget. Lecturers at the country’s oldest public university have threatened to go on strike in protest over what they call government’s unfulfilled promises.
The university academic staff association chairman, Dr Deus Kamunyu, said some staff are also demanding for salary arrears.
Sources, who preferred anonymity because they are not official university spokespersons, said the President is set to demand answers from the university leaders on how staff arrears recently released by government were diverted to other university activities.
The source said that this was one of the issue which caused the former bursar, Mr Augustine Tamale, to resign because he wanted the staff to get the money but some senior university managers withheld. Mr Tamale said he left the position over personal reasons. He has since been replaced with Mr Everest Bainomugisha.
The presidential press secretary, Mr Don Wanyama, could not pick our repeated calls.