The Makerere University Vice Chancellor has called upon students to ignore a strike called by the guild council. The strike, code named “Bloody Monday” is slated for today.
It was called by guild President Papa Were Salim, in response to the recently adopted policies by the University management, including but not limited to; increase in tuition fees, scrapping of evening classes, sexual harassment, shifting some courses to Kyambogo, MUBs and Nsamizi institutions, deducting money for meals among others.
Sitting on Sunday morning at the University, all the leaders (guild council) unanimously agreed with the Guild President to call for indefinite industrial action commencing on Monday 16th April 2018 until all their challenges are addressed.
Papa Were accused the Vice Chancellor of using social media to intimidate students who try to engage him.
However, this morning, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe said there is no need for a strike which will disorganize university activities. He called upon students to go about with their classes and not pay attention to what their leaders are advocating for.
“I call upon all Makerereans to stay calm and go about their studies normally. Issues raised by a section of the Guild leadership have been explained. There is no cause for a strike, which will disrupt activities of our great university and endanger opportunities of our graduates. All issues can be resolved amicably through negotiation. Say NO to violence” he tweeted.
Last evening, the Guild President sent out a broadcast, calling upon leaders of different halls in Makerere to prepare students for the strike. He also warned those who will not join the strike to be careful as they will be seen as enemies of the struggle.
Were also accuses the Vice chancellor of ignoring their calls to a consultative meeting. However, on Sunday evening, the university public relations officer, Ritah Namisango authored a letter in response to Were’s concern.
She explained that the Vice Chancellor had prior engagements he could not miss in order to attend the meeting, of which he was informed one day to, he then requested that the guild president and his council submit a written petition to enable him consult in order to give credible responses, but this seems not to have been done.
Ms. Namisango further explained in her letter, that evening programmes were not scrapped and would continue. Adding that the university has already advertised the evening programmes for the academic year 2018/2019.
She then explained that the issue of students’ meals is before parliament and the university is awaiting legislators’ recommendations. University leadership proposed that each students be given 4500 Shillings daily for meals, as opposed to cooking for them in halls.
The PRO said on the issue of sexual harassment, that a committee had been setup to deal with it and urged all students to interact with it. She then noted that the VC is not even in the country, as he is attending a strategic partnership meeting in Nairobi Kenya, with other Vice chancellors from African Universities. According to Ms. Namisango, he designated Wednesday April 18th, as the day he will interact with the guild council.