Uganda: Makerere Ordered to Reinstate Suspended Female Activist

10 December 2019

The Makerere University Students Disciplinary Committee has ordered the immediate reinstatement of Siperia Mollie Saasiraabo, who is accused of leading a strike over the 15 per cent tuition hike. The disciplinary committee delivered its verdict on Tuesday afternoon, saying Saasiraabo has no case to answer.

This came after Saasiraabo appeared together with other students before the Disciplinary Committee chaired by His Worship Precious Beinga Ngabirano in the Senate Board Room 1. The Committee noted that it couldn't find any merit in the case levelled against the student based on her Facebook posts tabled by the university management.

"We have looked at the file and the charge and the posts of social media as basis for the charge. The posts don't disclose the offence stated and therefore the student has no case to answer. We order that the suspension be lifted. Formal write up for lifting her suspension to be sent," ruled Ngabirano.

The dean of students, Cyriaco Kabagambe referred Saasiraabo to the Disciplinary Committee on November 5, 2019, in line with regulation 6(5) (e) of Makerere Student's Regulations of 2015. According to the charge sheet, the university accuses Saasiraabo of registration number 17/U/9897/EVE of circulating inflammatory messages on social media calling for defiance and disruption of university activities contrary to students' regulations.

Regulation 8(9) (b) (viii) of the Makerere University Students Regulations, 2015 stipulates that; "no student shall engage in activities likely to cause breach of peace such as inciting violence and destruction of property."

As part of evidence, the university produced Saasiraabo's Facebook post of October 31, 2019.

"We are neither deterred nor compromised. Our resolve is still as clear as our conscience. Ours is a noble cause and whereas our bodies are limping, our spirits remain resilient. I will be at the frontline as soon as I can be able to stand. #FeesMustFall," reads Saasiraabo's post.

However, the Disciplinary Committee said the student had no case to answer as her Facebook posts attracted no offence. Saasiraabo was represented by Isaac Ssemakadde from the Centre for Legal Aid.

She was handed a suspension letter together with 9 other students on October 22, 2019, for allegedly inciting violence against Prof Eria Hisali, the principal college of Business and Management Sciences and Gordon Murangira, the personal assistant to the vice chancellor.

They include; Musiri David, Bachelor Commerce, Kyeyune Ivan - Bachelor Arts, Mutatina Seiz - Bachelor of Commerce, Dhabona Job - Bachelor of Community Psychology, Ssenoga Simon and Frank Bwambale pursuing Bachelor of Journalism and Communication. Others were Rogers Mbajjo Ssebiraalo, Bachelor of Quantitative Economics and Derrick Ojambo Wabwire - Bachelor of Records and Archives Management.

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