Saturday February 18 2017

Drama as Makerere students storm council meeting

A police officer arrests Social Sciences guild

A police officer arrests Social Sciences guild minister, William Karamagi, who was among the students protesting over missing names on the graduation list. Photo by Alex Esagala 

By Damalie Mukhaye

KAMPALA. There was drama at Makerere University in Kampala yesterday after some of the 500 students, who are missing on the graduation list, attempted to storm a crisis council meeting called to discuss their fate ahead of the February 21 ceremony.
The students, coordinated by one of their leaders, Mr William Karamagi, the guild academic affairs minister, tried to enter the council meeting but were blocked by police officers even as sources maintained that some students were ejected from the meeting.

Saturday Monitor understands that the affected students and their leaders had received information from sources that their issue [the missing names on the graduation list] was not on the agenda yet there were reports that the university vice chancellor, Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu, had met some students and promised to add them on the list.
Upon getting this news from Mr Karamagi, who said he had got the information from the guild president, the students charged and resolved to storm the meeting to demand for answers from the council members. However, in the fracas at the entrance of the main building, police officers arrested Mr Karamagi and took him to Wandegeya Police Station. Other students ran away, while others vowed not to leave the main building.

By press time, the charges against Mr Karamagi were not clear even as Makerere University police chief, Mr Dennis Kasibante, accused him of inciting the aggrieved students to disorganise the council meeting and attempting to enter a meeting uninvited.
“He wanted to disorganise the council meeting,” Mr Kasibante said. “We are all waiting for the council resolution on the matter. We arrested him to give room to the council members to deliberate on the issue. Let the students be patient, at the end of the day, the university council is going to pronounced itself on the matter.”
The head of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof Edward Kirumira, yesterday explained that some lecturers submitted the students’ results late and others are missing on the graduation list because they have retakes.

“It’s true some colleges’ submitted results late. But for us, we have compiled all the cases and forwarded the names to the office of the Academic Registrar, so the decision to add the affected students on the addendum list is theirs,” Prof Kirumira said.
Makerere University is set to graduate more than 14,000 students, with the ceremony starting on next Tuesday and running up to Friday.
However, addressing journalists at the university on Thursday, the prime minister of Makerere Guild Council, Mr Stanley Okecho, said they discovered that names of more than 500 students were missing from the graduation list two weeks back before the final lists was released on Monday.
He explained that when they approached the responsible offices, they were told that the system was already closed and that the missing names would not be added on the list.

With just three days to Makerere University graduation ceremony, the non-teaching staff also met yesterday and threatened to strike unless the university pays their arrears as promised.
Their meeting took place in the same building where the council sat to deliberate on the new challenges confronting the university.
On the orders of President Museveni last year, Makerere University remained closed for almost two months. By press time, the non-teaching staff were still locked up in a closed-door meeting.
Non-teaching staff in all public universities went on a 17-day strike last year asking government to pay them arrears amounting to Shs28 billion for 2015/2016 but they called off their industrial action after President Museveni promised to address their demands by December the same year.

Daily Monitor reported yesterday that 500 Makerere University students were panic-stricken after the university failed to include their names on the 67th graduation list, despite having fulfilled all the requirements.