Uganda: Public Wants Report on Makerere Fire

29 October 2020

One month after the inferno, various stakeholders are still waiting for the report on the fire that razed Makerere University Main Building.

Recent reports indicate the investigations are complete but the report is not ready. Although the completion of investigations in one month is a departure from the past trend, where neither reports nor evidence of investigations have surfaced years later, this does not let the current team off the hook.

The final report is eagerly awaited and is of great importance in charting the way forward. It is also key in a much needed exercise of instituting measures to avoid tragedies of similar nature from befalling our institutions and monuments.

This is a call to all the relevant authorities to keep up the steady pace. Those charged with holding the investigators accountable should also keep up the scrutiny so that we do not lose track of the much needed findings as has happened in the past. The public has been promised a report in one week's time. We shall check to see whether this will happen.

When the much awaited report is finally produced, we hope that the findings will be made available to the public and that the report will not be relegated to gather dust, but rather spur action to address any major issues highlighted in the findings.

In the same way that the media has kept the spotlight on the matter of investigations, let us also remain focused on the implementation of key report recommendations.

The fire at Makerere had far-reaching implications, some of which the alumni and the general public may not have fully understood. However, let us make the investigations and the resulting report count towards addressing the myriad problems created by this fire outbreak.

Furthermore, if the Makerere investigations and report are delivered within the promised time, it should serve as a model for any future incidents. There is need to demonstrate that our institutions function well when need arises to provide answers and solutions to structural problems and that we are building a record of best practices on handling accidents of that nature.

We have been assured in the past that the country has fire experts at par with others at international level and there was footage available from cameras in the vicinity of Makerere University Main Building on the night of the fire outbreak. Therefore, the investigating team has no excuse not to deliver the report on time.

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