Prof Barnabas Nawagwe, the vice chancellor of Makerere University is worryingly silent about the situation in his home after one week of thorough dissent to his ways of work by the university students.
The students demand the revocation of the 15% cumulative tuition policy that the university council passed last year in July which adds a 15% tuition increase on every course every academic year. The increment affects the joining years only.
The policy was reached after a 7 man committee headed by the then guild president Papa Were Salim bench marked several universities in the region and came upon with recommendations that they forwarded to the university council and the policy was effected.
What was funny about the whole recommendation however, is that the Guild House that mandated the committee requested that the policy be brought back to the same house for presentation before it was forwarded to the university council. Were Salim and his committee thought otherwise and forwarded it before discussion by the house.
In a show of protest over the policy, members of the GRC called for a press conference and disowned the policy saying that the recommendations didn’t represent the views of students since they were in essence never consulted at all. Seven students connived with the university management and imposed a fees policy upon generations to come.
Several students staged protests against the policy and notably among them was a one Obed ObedGui Jalmeo, a student of Education whom Nawangwe indefinitely suspended from the university in August last year only to be readmitted this year in August after he fell down and begged him for readmission.
With the background of the policy and how it was passed, it is clear that Nawangwe sought to use blackmail and intimidation to have his agenda forward at Makerere University. He learned from the mistakes of his predecessors and perfected the game of using extreme force to get what he wants. It is no wonder that he let the military reign terror on students sleeping peacefully in their hall at Lumumba last week.
“Nawangwe thought the media had exited the university and ordered the military to clobber students from the notorious Lumumba Hall until they beg for mercy. The military went in and destroyed property worth millions on top of actually violating the students’ rights – and all this was on the watch of Prof Nawangwe” a student from Mary Stuart told the Ugandan Wire.
When the horrors of that night were exposed, Nawangwe went silent. Never to be heard from again. Even when Management thought to invite students for a truce, Nawangwe was “not” the vice chancellor at the moment.
Our sources suggest that he could possibly be overseas, not for anything important but to dodge media questions on the situation at Makerere. It is alleged that as Deputy Vice Chancellor, he sponsored student demonstrations to frustrate the term of then Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu and he opted to use extreme measures to prevent a similar happening.
Himself right now, cannot believe that the students finally broke through his wave and pillars of oppression and intimidation to actually demonstrate against a policy that he put in place. We await to finally hear from him on the situation at Makerere University.