KAMPALA- Riot police was yesterday prompted to fire tear gas to clear way for the new Kyambogo University Chancellor, Prof John Ssebuwufu, to attend his swearing in ceremony as rowdy students blocked the entrance to the university main building.
The function, which was scheduled to start at 9am , started an hour late as police fought running battles with students to clear the way.
The angry students were protesting delayed release of the final graduation list yet many claim they cleared all academic and financial requirements to enable them graduate.
Police had to put a security cordon around the venue where the function took place to keep the students at bay. Jinja Road police commander Wesley Nganizi said they deployed at the university on the request of the administration to ensure all ceremonies between Wednesday and Friday go on smoothly.
In the middle of the fracas, Education minister Jessica Alupo arrived to preside over the installation function and expressed shock at what she saw and heard about Kyambogo. She urged the university management to bring their house to order.
“I didn’t expect to get this reception in an institution of higher learning. What is wrong here? I thought you, the officials are on top of the situation.” she said as unidentified students whom police had bundled on pick up shouted: “Madam we are not graduating. Those officials there ‘chewed’ our money.”
At least 6,315 students are expected to graduate between today and tomorrow but many were still skeptical by press time whether they will graduate because the final graduation list was not yet out.
Ms Alupo described Prof Ssebuwufu as ‘a sent messiah’.
“I can bear witness that Ssebuwufu is a messiah to this university. I know you (Ssebuwufu) as a man of integrity, humility and when you were vice chancellor at Makerere, I was a student there but I didn’t hear of or see cases of students missing on the graduation list or staff strikes.”
Prof Ssebuwufu promised to serve diligently.
“I am not new in Kyambogo, the current problems were part and partial of the institution even when I was still here as a principal but I am sure with God, we shall sail through,” Prof Ssebuwufu said.
The university council chairperson, Prof John Okedi, downplayed the students’ claims, saying those complaining were undisciplined students, who were either irregularly admitted to the university or misused their tuition fees.
He denied reports that some officials had swindled students’ tuition fees.