20 February 2013

Uganda: Striking Makerere University Students Jailed

Photo: Newvision
Striking Makerere students at Wandegeya Police Station.

Kampala — A total of 19 students of Makerere University who were arrested on Monday for striking over the 60% tuition fees policy have been sent to jail.

Law Development Centre (LDC) trial magistrate, Rebecca Nasambu remanded the students to Luzira Prison on Wednesday for inciting violence at the decades-old institution.

The magistrate said the students had a case to answer because they participated in riots, which is contrary to Section 67 of the Penal Code Act.

According to that part of the law, any person who takes part in a riot is guilty of misconduct.

The university's LC V councilor, Bernard Luyiga was bonded sh100, 000 cash and his sureties - Hope Tumushabe and David Nsereko - were bonded at 10m non-cash.

The students who were remanded are the students' Guild President Ivan Kata, Jacob Eyeru, Peter Lowestein, Paul Kiggundu, Peter Sensalo, Lionel Muhwezi, Clinton Kanyali, Gloria Katushabe, Emmanuel Nyiro, Samuel Kanamuwanje, and Gordon Lule

The others included Henry Kizito, Jack Obonyi, Kenneth Obuwro, Ronald Kawoya, Charles Waluganda, Gilbert Turyazibwe and Hassan Wasswa.

The students were arrested on Monday following resumption of a strike by the students over what one student called an "unfair fees payment system by the administration".

Another student had expressed his outrage over the new payment system: "This is ridiculous! Where are we going to get that money?"

The country's oldest university has insisted that March 8 is the deadline for students to obey the policy that requires privately sponsored students to pay at least 60% of their tuition by the sixth week of the semester.

Since the arrests earlier this week, the students have resumed lectures with Anti-riot Police prowling the campus grounds.

The strike saw windows of university buildings broken and shops in the neighbouring Kikoni area raided and looted.

Tyres were also burnt in the middle of roads leading to the campus as Police battled rowdy students.

The jailed students remain locked up until February 25, the day they are due back in court for further hearing.

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