KAMPALA – Makerere University boss, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe will now be residing in a lavish rent-free property worth an estimated UGX 4.5 billion.
The controversial Vice-Chancellor who is already under fire for extravagantly spending University funds on his foreign trips, plus harassing and intimidating vocal academic staff will now enjoy a posh new multi-billion home.
Last year, the University burdened students with higher debts by raising tuition fees by 15 percent for the next five years, in a similar fate University staff were being retrenched due to budget cuts.
The divisive VC recently in a clamp-down on the staff association leadership suspended the associations’ bosses including Makerere University Academic Staff Association Chairman Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi over their zeal in inquiring into the University affairs.
This new official residence of the Vice Chancellor dubbed the “Vice Chancellors lodge” is located on the Main Campus along Edge Road in Kampala.
“The Vice Chancellor’s Lodge, This is the official residence of the Vice Chancellor and it’s referred to as “Vice Chancellor’s Lodge”, located on the Main Campus along Edge Road,” the University boasted of the new lavish home on social media.
An analysis of figures by commentators reveals that the imposing lodge at Edge Road is worth over UGX4.5 Billion.
The detached property is surrounded by mature trees in a conservation area on Edge Road.
The University Council in July this year increased tuition for all major programmes by 15 percent accumulative every year for five years, an indication that in five years, a student will be paying a 75 percent tuition increment which some students say is unfair.
Dr. Kamunyu said this is yet another example of leadership largesse which is an embarrassment to the University-blasting the Nawangwe administration over failure to respect University priorities.
He said that while students rack up enormous debts to pay for their time at University, and academic staff struggle with harsh economic and working conditions, the Vice-Chancellor enjoys rent-free accommodation at the University’s expense.
He said that whereas the Vice Chancellor’s home is important, there are more pressing issues that need funding.
“We need prioritize right; it’s unfortunate that students are crying recess money which is not paid. The priorities sometimes aren’t played well,” he said in a telephone interview.
Others netizens wondered whether this level of subsidy for well-paid leaders is really justifiable.
However, Dr Mohammed Kiggundu Musoke the acting Manager Communications and International Relations rebutted the reports saying the building has been there for years and “these are just renovations”.
A spokesman said the residence was just renovated and that it is a routine process for the Vice Chancellor’s official home to undergo face-lift every after five years which is also the term of office.
“Therefore it is a mistake for people to say it is lavish,” he said adding that it got completed long time ago.
“Probably people didn’t know where it is and probably [they] thought it’s a new building, he said adding that the house has been there for long and it’s a normal process.”