Looting students: What happened to basic decency?
Posted Thursday, February 21 2013 at 02:00
The Daily Monitor front page picture of Makerere University students unleashing rampage in Kikoni spoilt my Tuesday. It is a genuine concern that the students want a fair fees payment policy. That aside, the students’ actions that characterised the demonstration against the policy were shameful. Students were captured looting soft drinks in Kikoni shops and without shame or remorse, paused for the cameras as if what they were doing was a just cause.
Where is the difference between the students and the street hooligans? What kind of leaders are being groomed in this so-called Ivory Tower? What had the poor traders in Kikoni, who are probably sweating to send their children to school done to the students to deserve their wrath? Are these the supposedly critical thinkers who cannot advance their cause in a worthy manner? Who will sympathise with them in their cause if they turn their wrath on the public? Shame on these students! I challenge the students to fight for their rights in a civil manner. I also challenge university administrations to develop policies with due consideration of all parties concerned.
Jolly T. Waako,
The Daily Monitor’s Tuesday cover page picture of Makerere University students consuming looted items during their strike shocked me. These students have gone out of control and need to be enlightened on the impact of their actions. They are destroying micro capital of citizens who are trying to make ends meet, and possibly struggling to send their children to the university the looters are lucky to attend.
These kiosks are not insured and neither is the university nor government going to compensate the shop owners. By their action, they are destroying the social fibre of the community around them and the kiosk dealers are going to get out of business, become unemployed and fail to meet their social needs. With such misery being brought onto them by students, they will definitely fight back at one time with every weapon they can use. These students should be identified, arrested and brought to book.
While the new fees policy instituted by Makerere University is a major assault on the already stretched pockets of parents, that is where my sympathy ends. Their noble grievances notwithstanding, those students have no right to put the reputation and prestige of Makerere University at stake by involving themselves in acts of pre-historic hooliganism! Does it help to air their views by matching to the nearby slums to loot “Safi juice” from poor people’s kiosks and then proceed to consume that loot in front of the cameras? I thought poor students are supposed to be pro-poor people! In a few years when they graduate, these same students will be managing important departments in government, including the Treasury! We must be very worried if the looters of juice gain access to our money! Talk of Dracula gaining access to the blood bank!
While I sympathise with Makerere students over the policy which requires a student to have cleared 60 per cent of fees by the sixth week after the beginning of the semester, I was put off by the actions of the students who were captured by cameras looting shops in their neighborhood-Kikoni. Did these traders have a hand in this fees payment policy? The students might have legitimate reasons to demonstrate, but it is not fair to loot other people’s property. It doesn’t make sense for future professionals to resort to such non-productive actions. I appeal to the students to encourage their guild leaders to dialogue with the university administration to settle the matter.
The picture of rioting students on the front page of Daily Monitor are disturbing. Whereas the reason for striking was genuine, the fact that the students went looting and consuming people’s merchandise from neighbouring shops sent a contradictory message. Don’t these students know that the owners of the businesses they plundered also pay fees for their children/dependants, some of whom may well be at Makerere University?
Shame upon the so-called future leaders, being shown on television and newspapers, drinking stolen drinks, the very source of somebody’s fees!
George Welishe,Makerere University