KAMPALA – A member of the East African Legislative Assembly, Mr Mukasa Mbidde, has accused the Makerere University administration of mishandling the student demonstration over the tuition fees policy, which has turned violent.
According to Mr Mbidde, the university administration led by Prof Barnabas Nawangwe could have used alternative means of dispute resolution before the strike culminated in violence
“A different approach should be given by the university management to show that they’re not administering havoc. The universe administration all look like captives,” the legislator said, adding that the university leadership should not have allowed the army to come in to quell the protests.
The army and police have been in the spotlight after footage last week emerged showing soldiers and police officers beating up students in a bid to stop the protests which are against the 15% tuition fees increment policy.
And Mr Mbidde, who was once a Guild President at the university, accused Prof Nawangwe of lacking right management skills.
“I am told the Makerere University vice-chancellor was schooled in Russia. The source of his education is also the source of AK47 guns, probably now, he is dealing with them as flowers,” he said.
The legislator, who is also a member of the opposition Democratic Party, lashed at the government for reacting to the strike as if it’s a state rebellion.
“I’m failing to understand what is happening at Makerere University. Students are demonstrating over fees increment but the government is responding to a rebellion,” Mr Mbidde said.
“Some people are thinking that Makerere University is a piece of land that by a matter of afterthought, they’d like to take over. They’re creating conditions to make sure the university is closed so that they open it up again under new management. In my opinion, I don’t find it necessary that an army can be deployed into a university where students are only demonstrating. What we’re seeing is that the police and the army are administering havoc. What they’re trying to address isn’t an answer to be given by them,” he added.
“This government thinks that when you come out to voice discontent, it is you that should receive the solution. There’s no way that problem will be solved. The government thinks you appoint somebody to quell a voice. With the way some professors are placed at Makerere University, the government’s hand is extremely visible. The administration should tell the government off when they’re wrong. These are extremely soft professors whose decisions are as hard as iron. You’d think the students are so wrong yet many are suspended without a cause. When you face a professor who doesn’t want to listen to you, you make a voice that will get their attention.”