The Makerere student leadership will petition the Minister of Education and Sports, First Lady Janet Museveni over the closure of the university.
Guild president Roy Ssemboga told journalists that the university students council will formally write to the minister asking her to convince President Yoweri Museveni to order for the re-opening of the university.
“We are going to state all our grievances to the First Lady. Some of us wanted to graduate, our colleagues are supposed to go for fellowships during the holiday, but now, the semester will be extended hence affecting us,” said Ssemboga.
Following a strike by students after lecturers stopped teaching in an allowances row with the administration, Museveni issued a directive for the immediate closure of Uganda’s oldest and largest institution.
In a directive on Tuesday, the president said he had taken the action to guarantee the safety of persons and property at the institution.
The Inspector General of Police Kale Gen. Kale Kayihura visited the university and attended another crisis meeting Wednesday to effect the directive.
Flanked by the Kampala Metropolitan commander Frank Mwesigwa, Kayihura addressed students and thanked them for cooperating with the police, justifying the closure as the only thing that would be done given the prevailing situation.
“The university’s business is to teach students and if lecturers can’t teach then it becomes a problem to keep the University running. We hope for a decisive measure to be taken to avoid a recurrence of the same,” Kayihura said.
Upcountry, international students stranded
Hundreds of Makerere university students who were ordered out of halls of residences remained stranded at the university main gate on Wednesday afternoon.
Students stood side by side facing public order police blocking the entrance to the university.
Asiimwe Kamugisha, a first year student of Library and Information Science residing in Lumumba expressed concern over the directive.
“I don’t know where to go. I come from Kabale, I don’t have money for transport. I only watched on television at 10pm that we were supposed to leave halls of residences very in the morning,” said Kamugisha.
Strict Guidelines to students and hostel owners
The Police force spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi has meanwhile ordered the closure of private hostels around Makerere University.
Kaweesi also advised international students to seek assistance with their respective embassies and high commissions to help them get back home safely until further notice.
“Hostels that keep students whenever the university is closed are ordered to close immediately and parents are encouraged to pick their children and take them home. When students stay around they are vulnerable to many manipulations including opportunists who may want to use them in political activities, “said Kaweesi.
“The police will soon make a communication about the arrested students at Wandegeya and CPS. Police won’t hesitate to arrest more students who want to cause chaos in and around the University.”