The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Mathias Mpuuga, has received a petition from students of Makerere University challenging the university council’s decision to suspend student politics at the institution.
In their petition, the students challenge the decisions of the University Council which they argue, contravened the provisions of Section 69(1)(a) of the Universities and Other Institutions Act.
“The chairperson of the University Council, Lorna Magara acted outside the provisions of the law governing the creation and governance of the students guild by constituting members of the University Council to review the students’ guild constitution without students’ representatives,” said Joshua Lawel Muhwezi, the spokesman of the Makerere University students select committee.
The university council suspended the Students’ Guild and indefinitely deferred elections for the university’s 88th guild president after Betungura Bewatte, a student at Uganda Christian University (UCU) was killed in bloody clashes that pitted supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) against those of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) on the last day of the campaigns on 14 July 2022.
The students demanded that Parliament prevails over the University Council to reinstate the guild and all students’ leadership structures to enable effective representation of students on the various university boards as required by law.
Speaking, Mpuuga expressed concern over how the university is being managed which he said risks turning the university into “a big primary school.”
“All of us must reject those overtures because Makerere is a hill of intellectual exchange. Students should not be treated like kids; these are adults,” Mpuuga said.
He implored the university administration not to use the 14 July incident to stifle students’ rights.
“We all regretted the incident in which a young man lost his life. Nobody should lose life because they people are seeking leadership. Of course, this comes from a background of people who are used to blood. In the last national elections, we lost over 100 people [but] the country did not stop,” Mpuuga said, further urging the Makerere University administration to work with security agencies and get to the core of the investigation and bring to book Bewatte’s killers.