KAMPALA – A section of MPs has called for the firing of Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, accusing him of leading the university with an iron fist thus turning it into a primary school.
While debating the statement tabled by John C. Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education with many MPs condemning the brutality military exerted on students in their halls of residence, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality) also Shadow Minister for Education said that Makerere is a public institution and the first call of duty lies with government and the parents and students only supplement.
“They are considering fees increment that is abdication of government duty. The gist of the minister’s statement was to explain why Makerere is on fire, when the challenges arose why did the ministry fail to consider dialogue and instead forced students to accept fees increment?” said Mpuuga.
Adeke Ann Ebaju, National Youth Representative said that there is so much tension at the university, “We have a Vice-Chancellor who is suspending students on Facebook and twitter. If the Vice-Chancellor can go stalk students on their Facebook accounts and use that as evidence to suspend and expel them, we are in doubt. Who does the VC think he is to start gagging students?”
Robinah Rwakoojo (Gomba West) suggested that it was about time Parliament investigated if these strikes are fuelled by fear of exams among the students because most of the strikes occur ahead of exams.
Okoth Othieno (West Budama North) said that the Makerere University administration is making a big mistake to suppress the students’ voices, “The Vice-Chancellor has turned Makerere into a primary school even in secondary school there is some element of freedom. What we are seeing is the lantern relationship that has exploded. I think it is time for Nawangwe to step aside so that there is a proper alignment at Makerere. Nawangwe should give way there should be an interim administration and then they re-align the system.”
Moses Kahima (Ruhama County) was one of the few MPs that backed the tuition increment arguing that the increment was timely.
Margaret Baba (Koboko Woman) wondered why Government wants private sponsored students to pay higher tuition yet they are not increasing the share for government-sponsored students.
“If the government can’t pay that excessive money, how do you expect parents of private students to pay this money? It is private students sustaining the university. Let the fees increment be across the board,” she said.