Court orders unconditional release of Makerere students as Law don joins strike

BY: Eyalama In Business On

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has ordered for the unconditional release of 46 Makerere University students who were arrested for protesting against 15 per cent tuition increment.

Court presided over by the acting chief magistrate Robert Mukanza issued the order on Friday following an exparte application filed by human rights lawyer Eron Kiiza.

“It is hereby ordered that the applicants, students of Makerere University be unconditionally released and every police officer is directed to comply with this order,” reads the magistrate’s order in part.

Kiiza contends that the students have been in police custody since October 23 without being presented in any courts of law. On Wednesday, more than 100 students of Makerere University were arrested during protests against the 2018 University Council’s decision to cumulatively increase tuition by up to 65 per cent (15 per cent annually) on all undergraduate programs every academic year.

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Meanwhile, more videos are emerging showing barbaric Uganda People’s Defence Forces brutality against students. In one video sent to The Observer, soldiers are captured on camera flogging students, forcing them to roll half-naked on the tarmac while some a kicked near Lumumba hall.

It is unclear what the students had done to warrant such illegal torture meted on them. On Tuesday and Thursday army personnel raided Lumumba and United Hall (UH) and broke into student rooms, indiscriminately beating whoever they came across.

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Some of the students’ property like television sets, laptops, computers and mobile phones were destroyed. Students also reported that soldiers were extorting money from them at night so as to spare them arrest. Some students are still hospitalised with some reporting broken limbs following the army beatings.

PERSISTENT

But despite the continued highhandedness of the police and army, the strike entered into day three but it was not as intense as the past two days. Earlier Friday, security officers attempted to pounce on a Uganda Radio Network journalist, Davidson Ndyabahika who was capturing the events at Makerere but retreated after the other journalists from other media houses formed a human shield around him in solidarity.

LECTURER JOINS STRIKE

Prof Ben Twinomugisha of School of Law has also laid down tools in protest against the brutality meted out on students last night when the army broke into students rooms and started beating them indiscriminately. In a social media post, Twinomugisha said he can’t continue to look on and pretend everything is normal at Makerere when students rights are being tramped on.

Prof Ben Twinomugisha

“I will not step at Makerere today. I must rebel individually in protest against the vulgar, indespicable, horrendous mistreatment of students. What happened in Lumumba is reminiscent of Amin soldiers’ brutal treatment of students and lecturers. Anyone pretending that the situation is normal is like the proverbial ostrich – hiding his or her head under the sand.” he wrote.

“Imagine your son or daughter in a room. Military thugs forcifully open the door, pull him or her out amidst beatings. Your daughter being raped, molested or assaulted! Ladies and gentlemen, this militarization of all institutions, including the Ivory Tower, the citadel of higher learning, must be condemned by all people of good conscience. Thus, I have decided, as a matter of conscience, to stay away from the ‘torture chambers’ of Makerere University today. My heart, body and soul are bleeding. I have no mental health to teach. Have a blessed day.”

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