Uganda: Makerere University Fuelling Hooliganism At Kyambogo - Vice Chancellor

Kyambogo University vice-chancellor, Prof Eli Katunguka is accusing students from Makerere University and Makerere University Business School (MUBS) of stirring up violence at Kyambogo. Prof Katunguka says they have intelligence reports indicating that students from the two institutions are fueling violence against Kyambogo university management.

There has been unrest at Kyambogo for the past two days leading to running battles between police, Local Defense Unit (LDU) and students pushing for the reinstatement of their guild president, Jonathan Tundulu. It all started the guild representative council (GRC) impeached Tundulu who was elected in March this year citing lack of leadership skills and disrespectful character.

However, the students' fraternity accuses management of conniving with external forces to remove Tundulu who is allied to the 'People Power', a political pressure group led by the Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. On Friday evening, police picked Tundulu and locked him up at Jinja Road police station on charges of inciting violence.

Prof Katunguka explains that the students' guild cabinet decided to impeach their president for allegedly concentrating on national politics and abandoning his responsibility towards students. URN has established that on the morning of September 25, Tundulu called a meeting of his cabinet but he didn't show up.

It is on the afternoon of the same day, that the GRC constituted and questioned the guild president for instituting an 'illegal vetting committee" to assess the minister's performance. Tundulu would later be impeached on October 2, 2019, by an overwhelming majority of 74 GRC members, six (6) abstained while 4 voted against the impeachment.

There were two invalid votes. According to Katunguka, immediately, after the vote of no confidence, Tundulu's supporters rampaged destroying university property and disrupted lectures. The provisions for moving a vote of no confidence in the guild are provided for in Article 10 of the Kyambogo Guild constitution.

Katunguka has called for calm in the university. "While students continue to exercise their powers as contained in their guild constitution, I call upon all students to remain calm, concentrate on their studies and avoid all manner of hooliganism," says Katunguka.

He says those who want to cause trouble will not be allowed and that the police will be on the lookout to arrest anyone disrupting the peace of others.

"I have been here since 2014 and we have had about 5 guild presidents. I have never interfered in guild elections. I don't interfere with student affairs unless they come to me. And I was reading on social media that I was giving out Shs 10 million, Shs 5 million per person. I wish I had that money, I would have used it for something else more useful other than sponsoring students to impeach their president." said Katunguka.

According to Katunguka, Tundulu has appealed against his impeachment, saying the university management and council will now have to decide the fate of the students' leadership.

"The impeachment process is not yet completed because the president has appealed and he is allowed to appeal. And a provision in their constitution says that once the president is impeached, then fresh elections must be held. That's the matter we shall discuss later because a fresh election requires about Shs 180 million which has not been budgeted for," Katunguka added.

Katunguka says a small group of misguided youth is disrupting activities at the university. He contends that the group is bent on causing violence and disruption;

"The challenge we have had with the current guild administration is that they have been unwilling to listen. I called them for a meeting to discuss their issues and they refused to come! If you can't have a meeting with your vice chancellor to discuss your issues, how will they end?" he asked.

A number of students interviewed said management was simply against their guild president who has refused to compromise on their demands to have the 12 weeks' tuition policy rescinded. Tundulu on Friday said that he had severally written to the university management on the student grievances particularly the 12-weeks tuition policy in vain.

But Katunguka insists that he has no powers to rescind the policy, arguing that the students must pay fees to enable the university run effectively.

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