What you need to know:
- Prof Nawangwe on Monday suspended three Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party guild presidential aspirants over what he termed as “indiscipline”.
A simmering conflict over the increasingly tightened space for rights of students at Makerere University is threatening to boil over with accusations that Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe is “misusing his power”.
Prof Nawangwe on Monday suspended three Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party guild presidential aspirants over what he termed as “indiscipline”.
Mr Kenneth Tushabe, Mr Calvin Mwesigwa Mugambwa, and Mr Edwin Price Bbos were suspended after they attempted to access the Freedom Square for the party’s general assembly.
On June 24, the NUP Mak Chapter’s planned general assembly was frustrated after the students were met with heavy deployment of military and police at the Freedom Square. Some of the students were arrested and later released on police bond.
In his June 27 suspension letter, Prof Nawangwe accused the students of engaging in acts of demonstration, citing Article 9(a) of the Makerere University Students Regulation.
“Demonstrations either within or outside the university shall be held only in accordance with the laws of Uganda provided the Vice Chancellor has been informed at least 24 hours in advance and police permission had been obtained,” Prof Nawangwe stated.
He added that the suspended students will be invited to face the disciplinary committee. He did not provide a date for the hearing.
However, the students and their guild denied engaging in any form of demonstration and want their civic space.
Ms Natabbi insisted the general assembly was legal and organised in accordance with the guild constitution.
“A general assembly is a right enjoyed by every student,” she added.
Mr Nelson Ssewanyana, the vice guild president, said the confrontation between the students and the security at the Freedom Square was captured on various amateur phone camera videos and they do not depict anything Prof Nawangwe claims.
“The actions of the vice-chancellor are inexcusable, ugly, partisan, uniformed, against the inherent rights of humanity and absurd,” he said.
But Prof Nawangwe said he acted within the rules. “They should read and understand University regulations first. It will help them a lot,” he said.