Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & URN | First Lady and Education and Sports Minister Janet Museveni has promised to fully support Makerere University investigate and then rebuild after a fire gutted their main administration block early on Sunday.
“This is tragic, not just for the university but the country,” the First Lady said.
“For us who believe in God, we know that everything works out for our good. This is a chance for Makerere to be rebuilt, not just buildings but the culture, the morals of the people and everything that pertains to our prestigious university.”
She was taken around the site by Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, who said the fire started in the roof above the Public Relations Office, at the right wing of the Building. He said he was however optimistic, as most human resource documents were digitized.
He also narrated how the first trucks that arrived at the Makerere University main building early this morning failed to stop the spread of the fire, says the University vice chancellor.
The fire is believed to have begun after 12:00 am and has gutted more than half of the iconic building.
Earlier, while addressing journalists at the site of the fire, Prof. Nawangwe said although the fire had been seen a few minutes after it started, it could not be stopped.
He adds that the first fire trucks failed to put out the fire because they had short horses that could not spray long distances. By the time fire trucks with cranes and long horses arrived, the fire had already spread to nearly the entire right side of the building.
As early as 6:00 am when our reporters were allowed to enter the University, more fire trucks were arriving at the scene to put out the fire that had spread to the left wing of the building.
When the fire begun spreading to the left wing of the building, some members of staff that had arrived tried to enter the building to try and save pick some of their documents from offices.
One member of staff was manhandled by police as she insisted to enter the burning building. ” Afande let me inside. This side is not yet burnt. We can save some of our items. I have the keys,” said the lady who was wailing in despair.
At around 7:30 am more staff members who were arriving from different corners also asked to be let into the building but were denied entry by officers from the Uganda Police Fire and Rescue Services.
By press time, fire trucks were still trying to completely put-off the fire. The entire right hand side of the building that houses offices for the Finance Department, University secretary’s office, deputy vice chancellor administration and finance, central registry where , audit offices, pension offices, salary offices and human resource office had been burnt.