THE WEEK THAT WAS: Makerere University Riots

capsule geneva;”>This policy was meant for all students to pay at least 60 percent before the sixth week of the semester, more about however, they looked at it as being unfair especially to the peasant students.

This demonstration led to the arrest of students and at least eighteen of them were remanded to Luzira Prison under charges of inciting violence and intimidation. Below are the details on how the riots started up to date.

Around 9.00 am on February 18, Makerere University students started rioting, some moving around Wandegeya and nearby areas while destroying property as well as breaking into people’s shops. With this violence, the Anti-Riot Police was alerted about the issue and it immediately came to calm down the situation.

All the University gates were closed and no one was allowed inside the University including the students themselves. When they were denied to enter, the students first pretended to be calm and they were allowed to enter. However, as they headed for the dining hall, the Police started arresting one by one. At least twenty two students were arrested on that day and detained at Wandegeya and Kiira Road police stations. Among these students was the Students’ Guild president Ivan Kata and the University Councillor, Bernard Luyiga.

During the press conference that was held at the University on that day, the University Vice chancellor Professor Dumba Ssentamu said the 60 percent policy was put in place in 2005 by the University Committee but ever since then, students have been opposing it.

He said the University needs money for paying utility bills, allowances, purchasing teaching materials and also paying for the university broad band width and so that is why they want that policy to be implemented.

Several politicians reacted to the University’s situation including a religious leader, Bishop Zac Niringiriye who was speaking at the University the weekend before the strike telling students not to blame the University Committee but the government which does not finance the University. He even commented that the government sponsored students don’t pay their tuition in time.

Uganda People’s Congress Party spokesperson, Mr. Okello Lucima also commented that the government should first pay its debt with the university before the implementing the policy which he considered unfair to private students.

On Wednesday this very week, the arrested students appeared before the Grade One Chief Magistrate, Esther Rebecca Nansambu at Law development Center Court where they were remanded to Luzira.

The court was filled up by students and their parents to show love and solidarity for their friends as they waited upon the Magistrate to start up the session. But as it approached to 2:00pm, the Anti-riot Police surrounded the premises to ensure there is tight security.

At around 3:00pm, the magistrate started the court session, the students were represented by Shifrah Lukwago, Asuman Basalirwa as their lawyers. At 4:00pm, the Magistrate granted bail to Bernard Luyiga on grounds that he was not in good health of course after presenting his sureties.

Others were denied bail because they appeared before court late and they were too many to be granted bail. The magistrate remanded them to Luzira to up to February 25, 2013 as parents looked on miserably.


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