Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Police Force is investigating reports that Makerere University students are paid by political actors and activists to engage in protests.
Police Spokesman Fred Enanga says that the payments, made through mobile money platforms, are part of the various clues being followed to establish the triggers for the unending protests at the University.
“Already we have managed to get one of the Mobile Money points in Wandegeya where they draw money for their protests,” said Enanga, adding that the operators of the mobile money outlet are being investigated, with a view of unearthing the source of the funding.
The statement comes a few days after protests that paralyzed business at Makerere University, where students were protesting a policy that sanctioned a 15 per cent increment on tuition and functional fees, over the next five years.
But what had started as a peaceful female students’ protests, turned into an ugly theater after UPDF and police personnel were seen breaking into halls of residence, where a number of children were picked up and clobbered.
Although initial media reports put the figure of arrested students in a five days’ protest at 60, Enanga said they detained only 39 students. Of these, Enanga said seven were non-students, adding that police is equally investigating their motive in the strike.
The non-students allegedly arrested in the Makerere University protests were identified as Deo Lumala, an artist at Nasser Road in Kampala, Derrick Otim, a resident of Mary Stuart Staff Quarters, George Kaliisa, a boutique operator in Bwaise and David Biliyo.
Others include Jesiro Okiliro who was enrolled for a three years course in 2011, but never attended the course to completion, Fahad Ssenyomo, a chapatti dealer in Wandegeya, Kabugila Kamya, a shop attendant and a former Mary Stuart Hall Chairman Collin Bandola, who left the university several years ago.
“There were chances of serious destruction of property. Female protesters were being fronted as shields and eventually male protesters would join,” Enanga said.
To prove the claims, security forces said there is a students’ force that has been formed at Makerere to participate and steer protests in other Universities. This, according to Enanga, has been witnessed in recent protest at Kyambogo University, where Makerere students took part and another one foiled at Makerere University Business School –MUBS.