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Education Committee tasked to investigate Mak unrest

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Education Committee to investigate the unrest at Makerere University.

Kadaga’s directive followed a debate of the students strike and the brutal raids by the army on students Halls of residence.

On Wednesday, Parliament passed a motion condemning the brutality by security officers against Makerere University students who have for one week been protesting the 15 percent cumulative tuition increment.

On Thursday, Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga moved a motion without notice urging parliament to investigate the matter to inform its final decision.

Mpuuga, who doubles as the Shadow Minister for Education had earlier said that Parliament needs to consider the incidents at Makerere without any partisan connotation but with high insights to where they want the country to head and how it deals with challenges that arise in the public arena.

He wondered why dialogue failed and government together with the University management resorted to forcing the fees structure on the students and parents.

Mpuuga appealed to parliament to interest its self in the way fees are arbitrarily changed in public institutions saying that if it is left to University Councils and administrators to adjust as they wish, then it will not help poor parents struggling with money. He also demanded an investigation into the abuse of students’ rights by security agencies.

Anna Adeke Ebaju, the National Female Youth MP said that there was so much tension in the University alleging that there is a governance crisis at the Education Ministry as well as the University administration where the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe suspends students right from their comments on social media.

She further noted the brutality against students trying to express themselves by the military deployed at the Institution.

Adjumani Woman MP Jessica Ababiku questioned the justification of the 15% annual fees increment yet the new students never participated in the fees structure discussions.

Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa proposed that if Parliament wants to do justice to Makerere, it should call upon government to take over the wage bill of the University. He said that currently, the university management contributes 40 percent and the other 60 percent from government which is unfortunately not fulfilled.

Bukooli County Central MP Solomon Silwany condemned the attack on students by the army for expressing their disagreement about the new structure. He said that violence was not called for and the freedoms of students needed to be protected.

Richard Okoth Othieno, West Budama County MP said that the mal-administration and suppression of student’s rights at Makerere University is something that should attract Parliament’s attention.

He accused Prof. Nawangwe of denying students their right to expression and turning the University into a Primary School demanding that it was time for him to step aside.

Kasese Woman MP Winfred Kiiza said that if students had been listened to, the situation would not have worsened. She expressed dissatisfaction about the abuse of human rights at the Institution and the discrimination against the poor. She said that fees increment should be halted until an amicable understanding is reached.

Tasked by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to explain whether the army officers had vacated the University, the State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania said that these had vacated in compliance with President Yoweri Museveni directive on Tuesday.

“But we must establish who deployed them. Someone must have deployed them and we need to establish,” said Kadaga.

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