PARLIAMENT – A section of MPs has rejected accusations by both the Uganda Police and Ministry of Education and Sports that students who have been leading strikes at Makerere University are under the influence of drugs.
The MPs made the spirited protest during today’s plenary sitting where they were responding to accusations made by the Minister of State for Higher Education, John C. Muyingo yesterday that the situation has been worsened by the rampant abuse of drugs and other substances by sections of students at the university.
The minister said that at the moment, there is continuous information gathering on students’ involvement in drug and substance abuse, which has aided arrests by the Police and that the University Management is strengthening sensitisation and counselling students to students on the dangers of drug and substance abuse.
However, a number of MPs rubbished this claim saying Government is using it to cover up the issues raised by students with Mourine Osoru (Arua Woman) saying, “I don’t think it was influence of drugs. I think for you to determine if someone is under influence of drugs, you need t have tested them.”
Angelline Osegge (Soroti Municipality) said, “Bringing the defensive position of drugs is just covering up the issue.”
Gilbert Olanya said, “I would like the minister to produce the list of students who are under the influence of drugs, because we do not want speculations and lies in this country.”
Margaret Baba (Koboko Woman) called for investigations into the allegations of use of drugs by students and appealed to students to demonstrate peacefully.
Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) said that the 15% if collected would generate Shs4.6Bn and lashed out at minister Muyingo for using police and military to beat up students over such an amount yet in the 2019/2020 budget, Parliament increased money for presidential donations by Shs80Bn bringing his total this year to Shs200Bn.
“You are trying to finance a budget deficit by crushing children. This money this country can afford. The response of the state is because of the miltarisation of our lives, every single problem you use the military. Has the police collapsed, are we back to Luwero where you use army to solve each problem? Minister Muyingo, you are a highly respected person, we hold you highly in our region, you shouldn’t be made to carry such documents. It should be other people to do this.”
Denis Obua (Ajuri County) called for a formation of a parents body, “Each and every time there is a strike, I ask myself what is my role as a parent, don’t you think there is need to amend the act, so we include a body for parents to discuss as parents and we see which student will participate in the strike?”
Some MPs called for lifting of the suspension and expulsion of students, “The suspension of students should be lifted, you can’t suspend students emotionally because you are annoyed with them. We really should be human,” said Francis Mwijukye.
Winnie Kiiza (Kasese Woman) called on Government to reveal the whereabouts of Makerere University Guild president, Julius Kateregga saying the university should be known as a centre of excellence not center of torture.