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Makerere management, disciplinary commitee clash over student suspension

Makerere University building

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Makerere University management and the disciplinary committee have disagreed over a decision to suspend students.

The university’s managers are particularly concerned that the disciplinary committee erred in law and fact when it failed to evaluate evidence before it and decided the reinstatement of Siperia Mollie Saasiraabo, a female student activist accused of leading the strike.

According to the memorandum of appeal to the University Council, the supreme governing body of the university, Goddy Muhanguzi Muhumuza, a University legal officer wants Council to allow the appeal, set aside the students’ disciplinary committee’s decision and grant the costs of appeal to the institution.

Tthe University Students Disciplinary Committee erred in law and fact when it failed to properly apply the available evidence on record and held that the social media posts did not disclose the offence of inciting violence or destruction of university property,” university management says in an appeal filed on Wednesday, December 18, 2019.

The University Management also faults the University Students Disciplinary Committee for violating a fair trial when it decided the matter without hearing from the university.

The appeal arises out of a December 10 decision by the His Worship Precious Ngabirano led Disciplinary Committee when it noted that it couldn’t find any merit in the case levelled against the student based on her Facebook posts tabled by the university management.

The university accuses Saasiraabo of registration number of circulating inflammatory messages on social media calling for defiance and disruption of university activities contrary to students’ regulations.  

As part of evidence, the university produced Saasiraabo’s Facebook post of October 31, 2019. 

“We are neither deterred nor compromised. Our resolve is still as clear as our conscience. Ours is a noble cause and whereas our bodies are limping, our spirits remain resilient. I will be at the frontline as soon as I can be able to stand. #FeesMustFall” reads Saasiraabo’s post. 

Saasiraabo had poised to stand for election in the upcoming Uganda National Students Association (UNSA) elections. Her suspension from the university prompted the dean of students to withdraw her nomination and candidature.

The withdraw was however rescinded by the same university official in his Monday, December 16, 2019 correspondence to the UNSA executive secretary.

The students’ elections were initially slated for December 20th to 22nd at Masaka Secondary School after two years of stalemate. The same polls have been switched to St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) in Entebbe. 

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