Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament on the Education committee on Thursday were shocked over the poor state of the students halls of residence at Makerere University.
This was during their visit to the university as part of the probe over the impasse at Makerere that saw two weeks-long students protest against the 15% cumulative tuition increment.
The students strike was met with unprecedented brutality which led to nationwide condemnation, parliament sanction of the probe to establish the deep seated issues.
While meeting the students, university management and members of the University Council, the MPs noted that the students’ halls of residence are completely dilapidated.
John Ntamuhiira Twesigye, MP for Bunyaruguru and the Vice Chairperson of the probe committee said that the state of the facilities for students requires immediate attention.
He argues that the conditions in which they are in is evidence of the students’ agitation in the recent strike.
During the meeting, the students were concerned over the increment in fees, yet, there was no significant face-lift of the halls of residences.
Marion Kirabo, the Guild Minister for Gender, Ethics and Integrity told the probe team thatthere is increment in the Senior Common Room (SCR) fees every year, with a view of improving students’ welfare in halls of residence including hall renovations but less is visible.
The committee also noted that there is a growing mistrust between the university managers and the students’ leaders on various issues which has led to the unending conflicts and sometimes confrontations.
Rubaga North Member of Parliament, Hon Moses Kasibante said that there could be something wrong with the university management relationship with students’ community, which he says should be addressed.
Makerere University Dean of students, Cyriaco Kabagambe, says some of the students have confronted management over the issues at the university, which could be keeping them away from engagements management.
The committee had written to university management to respond to issues of alleged abdication of duty by the university managers, sanitation and infrastructure complaints by students and allegations of sexual harassment during the recent impasse.
Responding to the issues, Lorna Magara, the University Council Chairperson says the university has maintained an open door policy to engage its members on all issues.
During the protests, there were allegations of sexual harassment against female students especially by the military.
However according to Magara, while the University Council established a committee led Dan Kidega to investigate the allegations, no single student has come up to complain.
Magara however says the university has in the past decisively stood against sexual harassment to the effect that currently one staff is dismissed while other five are out on suspension.