KAMPALA – Veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda and former intelligence operative Charles Rwomushana on Monday clashed over the decision by Makerere University students to protest against the 15% tuition fees increment policy and army’s involvement in the matter.
While appearing on NBS TV, Mr Rwomushana wondered why Mr Mwenda, whom he said was a beneficiary of government sponsorship, should oppose students and side with the state.
“Andrew Mwenda is a beneficiary of paid for education. The society must feed and educate children. Do students need to strike for you to know there is a problem? We’re discussing whether the idea of introducing tuition in public universities is needed. I come from a background where a peasant sells all his property to get their children in school. All the schools I’ve gone to are the church and community-funded schools. Parents take their children through school knowing the government will get them through university. If the state didn’t pay for Mwenda’s tuition, he’d be a hooligan in the village,” said.
In response, Mwenda said: “Every Ugandan should have all the things but if you can’t afford, you just can’t. People are assuming that there’s a limitless wallet from which we can throw money at anything. We just need to have a priority.”
The duo also discussed the involvement of the military in suppressing the protest.
“The state is attacking our children. A state provoked by children is a hooligan state,” Mr Rwomushana said.
Mwenda responded: “I’m not blaming the students but the culture that they inherited. The students shouldn’t be brutalised by the police. However, they shouldn’t continue with the entitlement culture either.”
He also said that strikes at Makerere are being fuelled by politics.
“There is so much politics from both the NRM politicians and opposition who want to get a political dividend,” he said.