30 November 2018

Uganda: MPs to Meet Makerere Students to Probe Sexual Abuses

Photo: The Observer
Makerere University.

Kampala — Members of Parliament on select committee investigating cases of sexual harassment in all institutions of learning are slated to meet students of Makerere University tomorrow at the campus.

According to the November 27 letter from the clerk to Parliament, Ms Agatha Akankunda, to the university vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, they want to meet students tomorrow since their efforts to meet them in the previous meeting hit a dead end as some were doing exams.

"The meeting could not proceed due to the absence of key members of the university's top management and representatives of the students' guild council. In addition, the committee was not availed with a comprehensive submission aligned to the terms of reference of the inquiry," the letter reads in part.

"It was resolved that another meeting be scheduled on a convenient date preferably after December 8 when [students] will complete the end-of-Semester One examinations. The committee however noted that the university will close on 8th and reopen in January 2019 and may not have the opportunity to meet the students. So we have decided to schedule the shortest time possible," the Parliament letter further reads.

Ms Akankunda said the committee will meet the students at 10am, meet the academic staff next Thursday and the university central and top management on November 11.

The source close to the university told Daily Monitor that cases of sexual harassment have escalated at Makerere with female students currently complaining of the presence of soldiers near their halls of residence.

The source said the army camping near Africa Hall, a female hall of residence, and the adjacent Livingstone Hall for males, is one of the factors the sexual harassment committee should look into.

When Daily Monitor visited the halls of residence at the campus, there was presence of soldiers near the said buildings with their clothes hung outside and a number of them moving around.

When contacted, the commander of police manning the university, Mr Chris Kato, said the army officers were working hand in hand with police to bolster security at the university following cases of insecurity in the city.

He added that the officers are not sleeping in the buildings but are using them as the command centre to conduct night and day patrols.

Mr Kato said he had not yet received any formal complaint that the soldiers were disturbing female students but added that they would investigate the matter.

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