By Judith Nalukwago
Following our October 2019 peaceful demonstrations against exorbitant educational charges at Makerere University, some students who expressed solidarity with the cause through leading it, sharing its content on social media platforms or even simply talking about it with their friends were targeted by the Nawangwe administration.
In total, 9 students were suspended and another 26 handed stern warnings.
Immediately, on top of asking for a revision of the tuition payment policy, we added REINSTATEMENT OF SUSPENDED STUDENTS as one of our demands in the days that followed up in that noble cause.
We presented the case of the suspended Students very vigorously before authorities we engaged with.
The university council was the first to be responsive to our call and made a resolution that management makes arrangements to reinstates all of them immediately, the education committee of Parliament made the same recommendation.
The university council also resolved that as these students face the disciplinary committee, they are allowed to enjoy all previleges of a student like sitting exams, tests and even graduation.
Gladly, lawyers representing these students Csl. Isaac Ssemakadde (8 of the students) and comrade Csl. Aaron Kiiza (David Musiri David ) had obtained similar remedies from the DC.
In all this, we knew that we were simply treating symptoms, not the root cause. We moved fast to the Civil Division of High Court to specifically challenge Rule 6 (1) (d) of the 2015 Makerere University Regulations which gives the Vice-Chancellor- VC unquestioned powers to suspend any student at will.
With all the recommendations of parliament and resolutions of the university council, management is still up to today blatant about reinstating these colleagues.
Even when other courts of law are sitting and resolving matters, the Disciplinary committee has hidden its incompetence behind Covid 19 and has since the first lockdown never reconvened to bring these matters to conclusion.
That is why it is a priority of my Campaign and subsequently my Guild Presidency to use all avenues to have these students reinstated, all charges dropped, and to follow up as a matter of importance the court case challenging the unconstitutional law on which the Vice Chancellor can shoot and then aim later.
List of Suspended Students
1. Mr. Frank Bwambale, Reg. No: 16/U/4500/PS, Bachelor Journalism and Communication, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, (College of Humanities and Social Sciences)
2. Ms. Saasiraabo Siperia, Reg. No: 17/U/9897/EVE, Bachelor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, School of Psychology, (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) (She was reinstated, the University appealed the Disciplinary committee decision in the University council, No sitting has happened to settle that matter.)
3. Mr.Rogers Mbajjo Ssebiraalo, Reg. No: 13/U/13785/EVE, Bachelor of Quantitative Economics, School of Statistics and Planning, (College of Business and Management Sciences)
4. Mr.Derrick Ojambo Wabwire, Reg. No: 16/U/0825/EVE, Bachelor of Records and Archives Management, East African School of Library and Information Science, (College of Computing and Information Sciences)
5. Mr.Musiri David, Reg. No: 17/U/6676/EXT, Bachelor Commerce (External), School of Distance and Lifelong Learning, (College of Education and External Studies)
6. Mr. Kyeyune Ivan, Reg. No: 15/U/6923/EVE, Bachelor Arts (Social Sciences), School of Social Sciences (College of Humanities and Social Sciences)
7. Mr. Mutatina Seiz, Reg. No: 18/U/12706/EVE, Bachelor of Commerce, School of Business (College of Business and Management Sciences)
8. Mr. Dhabona Job, Reg. No: 16/U/20548/EVE, Bachelor of Community Psychology, School of Psychology (College of Humanities and Social Sciences)
The Author is a Guild Presidential Candidate for Makerere University