Mak students drag Vice-Chancellor Nawangwe
Mak students drag Vice-Chancellor Nawangwe to court over reckless suspensions. Photo/Twitter

Makerere University students demand the court to stop Vice-Chancellor Nawangwe from reckless suspensions 

Makerere University students have dragged the University to the High Court in demand to see that the Vice-Chancellor Nawangwe stops his dictatorship tendencies. 

Following the recent strike that saw a total of nine students suspended from the university and other 26 also given warning letters, the students have taken complaints to court demanding that the VC stops suspending them at will.

A total of six students including Abbas Luyombo, Judith Nalukwago, Mariam Kyomugisha, Julius Mbabazi Muyambi, Marion Kirabo and David Musiri have filed a complaint implying that they do not feel free staying at Makerere University.

They are always worried about threats of a suspension stemming from regulations 6(1)(d) and 8(9)(a)of the Makerere University Students Regulations Statutory Instrument.

According to regulation 6(1)(d) of the Makerere University Students Regulations Statutory Instrument no.37 of 2015, the Vice-Chancellor has powers to arbitrarily suspend a student from the university or to discipline him in any manner he thinks fit and seeks approval of his action at the next University Disciplinary Committee sitting.

Meanwhile, students claim that these immense powers are given to the University Vice-Chancellor threaten and infringe on their right to a fair hearing, freedom of conscience, expression, assembly and association in the struggle for their welfare and academic freedom at the Ivory Tower.

“The regulations are imprecise, overly broad and vague, which makes it subject different interpretation by the Vice-Chancellor which is very dangerous for the students who would be subject to it,” student’s petition reads.

As a result, the students demand the court to respond to their cries and consider doing away with this law and also regard it as illegal and unacceptable.

“Court should declare that Regulation 6(1)(d) of the student’s regulations at Makerere University is subjective, imprecise and inimical to the principle of legality,” the students add.

Earlier, following the suspension of the students, management implied that it took the disciplinary action on students because they did not only incite violence but also destroyed University property and injured fellow students. 

Protests by students arise from the fact that they believe the increment was signed without their proper consent.

Although the University management accepted to remove the 15% on functional fees, the students insist that they want the policy removed also on the tuition.

On 29th October 2019, the University Council held an emergency meeting and decided to halt any further increment on functional fees, but kept the 15% increase on tuition fees for the next three years.

This decision was apparently not acceptable to a section of the students and a few of them till today have continued with their riots mostly off-campus. 

According to the students, this policy is very unfair not only to those on government but also those on private sponsorship who have to toil hard to get their tuition.

Meanwhile, the University through the Vice-Chancellor said that despite the student’s continuous strikes, they are not ready to extend the examinations dates.

Examinations as earlier planned will start on 18th November 2019 but the University says this will not change and also that there will be no extension to the Semester. 

By John Dalton Kigozi