There is tension at Makerere University following the suspension of a student, Kizza Adonia, by Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe for allegedly organizing an illegal demonstration on campus.

On Monday, a group of Makerere University students had planned to hold a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to their grievances, which they claimed had been neglected by the University management.

These grievances included the ban on political parties, the controversial Guild statute, the delay in the disbursement of government-sponsored students’ allowances, and the presence of military personnel within the University grounds, among other concerns.

In an attempt to mobilize support for the demonstration, students used their WhatsApp groups to disseminate information about the planned strike and coordinate participation from various colleges within the University.

However, their efforts were hindered by a heavy security deployment, which prevented the strike from taking place. In a May 8th, 2023 letter, Nawangwe alleged that Adonia was involved in acts of indiscipline and had participated in an illegal demonstration.

“Among the illegal acts that you were allegedly involved in is participation in an illegal demonstration, during which you beat fellow students and disrupted teaching and learning activities that were ongoing in the College of Education and External Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as School of Law calling for defiance and disruption of University activities,” reads the letter in part.

Nawangwe stated that Adonia’s alleged involvement in the above illegal activities posed a threat to the safety and security of the University community and property. “I hereby suspend you from Makerere University with immediate effect and until further notice to allow for further investigations,” he wrote.

The Vice-Chancellor also ordered the Dean of Students and the University Disciplinary Committee to commence proceedings against Adonia and instructed the Chief Security Officer to ensure that Adonia vacates the University premises immediately. Robert Maseruka, a student leader at Makerere, confirmed that the original plan was to hold a peaceful demonstration to protest the delay in disbursing allowances to government-sponsored students.

However, the strike was temporarily suspended after the University Secretary, Yusuf Kiranda, assured the students that their allowances would be disbursed within six working days. Maseruka believes that while the students’ grievances are legitimate, the issue of delayed allowances should take priority.

He advised his fellow students to be patient and tackle issues one at a time, as attempting to address all problems simultaneously may hinder efforts to resolve the delayed allowances issue.

“As we are proceeding we need leadership in each and everything, and as a leader I informed them before that we need not bring all reasons, because if we bring all of them, the government allowance issue which is the main concern will lose sense,” he said.

Another anonymous student suggested that it would be an opportune time for the students to take a stand and pressure the administration to address their concerns, as their counterparts at Kyambogo University did last week with positive results.

Maseruka stated that he is engaging the University management to secure Adonia’s reinstatement.

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