Closure of Makerere University Irks Legislators
Several legislators have demanded that government pushes for the re-opening of Makerere University.
This follows the closure of the university on November 1 on the directive of President Yoweri Museveni, following a sit-down strike by lecturers demanding for their arrears, spanning nine months. The lecturers’ strike also triggered protests from students, prompting the closure.
During debate in Parliament on November 15, 2016, National Female Youth MP, Ann Adeke Ebaju raised the matter on the floor, noting that the indefinite closure of the university has grossly affected the students’ academic year.
Adeke cited the final year students in the school of law, who have to go to Law Development Center for their post-graduate diploma to practice law.
She also cited Mulago hospital, where interns who had been attached to the different hospitals, have been withdrawn, which has affected patients. Adeke demanded that the university is re-opened immediately to avert an academic crisis.
Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, Obongi County MP, noted that the closure of Makerere has a ripple effect on the health sector, especially Mulago hospital where intern doctors have been working. “Many patients are suffering because the intern students have been withdrawn. We need to urgently address this,” Fungaroo implored.
Joseph Ssewungu, Kalungu West MP, expressed anger over failure by government to address the repeated concerns of the lecturers over allowances. The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza said due to the closure, parents are desperate and anxious for answers from government.
“Out there, many parents are telling us they have borrowed loans to pay fees for their children. Can we task the Minister of Education to give us a report on what happened and what is being done,” Kiiza said.
Semakula Lutamaguzi, Nakaseke South MP lamented that international students have also been affected by the closure, with some students stranded in Kampala.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga added her voice to the MPs, noting that the closure was unprecedented yet Makerere is ranked among the best universities in Africa.
In response, State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo acknowledged the concerns of the MPs, revealing that President Yoweri Museveni has set up a nine-man visitation committee, chaired by Dr. Abel Rwendeire to probe into the issues in Makerere University, which will done for three months.