Suspended students case: Mak asks court to let internal structures function

What you need to know:

  • The two students who were aspirants in the recently suspended guild presidential race, Calvin Mugambwa Mwesigwa and Kenneth Katushabe petitioned the court seeking a declaration that the process of suspending them with immediate effect before appearing before the student’s disciplinary committee was illegal.

Makerere University has asked the court to decline to grant an application in which two students are challenging their suspension in order to let the internal disciplinary structures work.

The two students who were aspirants in the recently suspended guild presidential race, Calvin Mugambwa Mwesigwa and Kenneth Katushabe petitioned the court seeking a declaration that the process of suspending them with immediate effect before appearing before the student’s disciplinary committee was illegal.

However, in his affidavit Mr Yusuf Kiranda the university council secretary noted that the applicants were involved in an unauthorised assembly yet they knew the rules and regulations that govern them.

“I crave the indulgence of the court to decline to grant this application for lack of merit and allow for the internal disciplinary structures within the respondent's university to function,” Mr Kiranda noted.

The Makerere University Students Regulations, 2015 under Regulation 6(1) (d) gives the Vice-Chancellor (VC) among others the authority to suspend a student from the University with immediate effect.

“It is lawful and a standard practice that once a person is suspected to have been involved in acts that breach regulations of any institution, then the administrative head of that institution may suspend that individual and refer the matter to the appropriate organ for further management,” Mr Kiranda noted.

“Taking into account the violent nature of student politics, especially at the respondent’s university, it was imperative for the organisers who included the applicants to obtain the requisite clearances,” he added.

Mr Kiranda explained that the violence is demonstrated by a later political gathering during which a student from Uganda Christian University was killed thus making the actions of the VC legal and rational.

In his affidavit, Mr Kiranda states that after the suspension of the two students, their case was referred to the dean of students by the Vice Chancellor for onward transmission to the University Students Disciplinary Committee with the first hearing on August 4 in their attendance.

He said that what the aggrieved students are seeking has already been overtaken by events because to date, all guild elections, functions, structures and office activities are suspended by the University Council until further notice.

In their main case, the two students are seeking for a declaration that the decision by the University to suspend them well knowing they are guild presidential aspirants just after the release of the Elections roadmap was an abuse of power geared to influence the political terrain, was illegal.

The students claim that on June 24, the National Unity Platform Makerere Chapter to which they subscribe, organized a general assembly where they were all invited as aspirants, however upon arrival army and police officers surrounding the freedom square denied them access.

However, as the parties in this case appeared before High Court Judge Boniface Wamala Monday, it was agreed that the students can write their exams for the academic year 2021/2022 while on suspension until a final decision is made on their case.

Justice Wamala adjourned the matter to November 28 for hearing.

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