Pressure mounts on government over Makerere University strike

Ambassadors from the European Union (EU) countries have joined the growing list of individuals and institutions that piling pressure on government to resolve the issues that resulted into the current impasse at Makerere University.

In a joint statement by the EU ambassadors as well as their counterparts from Norway and Iceland, the diplomats condemned the brutal manner in which security agencies moved to crush the students’ protests at the university.

“Makerere University has been the theatre in recent days of violence and the use of excessive force by members of the law enforcement agencies. We support the analysis of the events made by the Uganda Human Rights Commission and call upon all parties, particularly the Uganda Police Force and Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, to refrain from acts of violence and to respect freedom of assembly and expression,” the diplomats said in a statement.

What started last week as  a peaceful protest against a 15 percent increment in tuition fees turned riotous with the deployment of a combined force of the police and the army that later broke into the students residences late in the night and brutalized them.

The EU ambassadors want an investigation against the security officers involved in the human rights violations at Makerere.

“We are also alarmed by the use of force against and unwarranted arrest of journalists attempting to cover recent events at Makerere. We call upon both Makerere University and the security services to ensure that all accredited journalists are allowed to do their job without intimidation and harassment so they can report events independently,” they further stated.

The EU statement comes a day after Parliament in a non-partisan manner condemned the security agencies response to the strike before Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed the Education committee to investigate the unrest at the university.

On Tuesday, the U.S mission in Kampala also issued a statement condemning the violence meted out to the students by the security forces.

In the midst of growing pressures, the UPDF announced that it had arrested Capt Ronald Lubeere who commanded the onslaught against the students. The arrest was announced in a tweet by army spokesman Brig Richard Karemire.