Makerere impasse: Guild, University council meeting ends in a deadlock

A meeting between Makerere University Council and the student leaders failed to reach an understanding aimed at resolving the current impasse at Uganda’s oldest university.

The meeting which was convened at the urging of President Yoweri Museveni centred around the issues that led to a students’ protest last week against a 15 percent increment in tuition fees.

Museveni on Tuesday told a meeting of his ruling NRM party MPs that he had spoken to the chairperson of the University Council, Lorna Magara and the Guild President, Julius Kateregga urging them to find an amicable solution to the situation at Makerere.

To the meeting held at the university’s Senate building, Kateregga went with his deputy, Judith Nalukwago, the guild minister for students with disabilities, Ronald Kamusiime and Marion Kirabo, the guild minister for Gender, Ethics and Integrity among others.

From about 9am, the student leaders and members of the University Council remained locked in the meeting till the fall of darkness but without anything conclusive being agreed.

The student leaders went to the meeting with  demands that the university drops the fees increment, rescind the suspension of all students who allegedly led the strike and the withdrawal of the military from the university among others.

Student leaders at Makerere University are pessimistic about the on-going council meeting to resolve the impasse at the university.

According to Kamusiime, after their submission to council, they were asked to leave to give council time to deliberate and decide on the students’ demands.

Another student leader who preferred anonymity says that some members in the meeting were bent on not accepting anything that the students were demanding.

“We did our best to table all the students’ issues. We hope our council representatives the guild president and vice will manage to bring us news that will be in favour of students’ welfare,” Kirabo said.

On Tuesday, Museveni had a telephone conversation with  Kateregga,  at about 7:00 am to get a detailed account of the genesis of the current impasse at Makerere.

The phone conversation reportedly centred around the 15%tuition and functional fees increments and how it was rushed without proper consultation from students.

“I held a phone conversation with President Museveni to brief him on the status quo at the Hill and on the demands of the governed. He had been fed on falsehoods by some elements of University Management. He instructed that University Council engages the Student Leadership, which they have heeded to. Our demands are clear and we shall pronounce to the Students Body the outcome and way forward from the Engagement,” Kateregga said.

Meanwhile, security remains tight at on key facilities which include the Main Building, Senate Building and the Main Library.

Journalists were denied access to the university by counter-terrorism police officers deployed.

The meeting is still underway under tight security.