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Makerere University students challenge Vice Chancellor’s excessive powers

FILE PHOTO: Makerere University Vice Chancellor Professor Nawangwe

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  | Six students from Makerere University have challenged the powers given to the Vice-Chancellor under the Makerere University Regulations, 2015.

The students include Abbas Ruyombo, Judith Nalukwago, Mugisha Mariam Kyomugisha, Mbabazi Julius Muyambi, Marion Kirabo and David Musiri.

The students have petitioned the Civil Division of High Court specifically challenging Rule 6 (1) (d) of the 2015 Makerere University Regulations which gives the Vice-Chancellor- VC unquestioned powers to suspend any student at will.

According to the regulations, the Vice-Chancellor has powers to suspend a student from the University or to discipline him in any manner he thinks fit and seek approval of his action at the next meeting of the University Disciplinary Committee”.

The students through their lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha Company Advocates contend that the said Regulations denies or threatens to deny the affected students a right to fair hearing, natural justice and administrative powers.

The application is supported by two affidavits of Judith Nalukwago and Marion Kirabo who say that the said Regulation is imprecise and vague, which makes it subject to different interpretation by the VC which is very dangerous for the students who would be subject to it.

“The regulation leaves me and other students uncertain as to whether or when a fair hearing will be given since the VC usually promises in suspension letters a hearing at unspecified time”, reads the affidavits in part.

They are also challenging Regulation 8(9) of the Makerere University Students Regulations Statutory Instrument Number 37 of 2015. This requires mandatory permission from Police before students hold any form of demonstration.

The students who have sued in the capacity to protect the image of Institution now want court to stop further reliance and enforcement of the said Regulations.

The students also want a declaration that all decisions, orders and directives based on the said Regulations are illegal and thus null and void.

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