Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has called for the unconditional release of all those arrested during a joint operation between police and military to foil Makerere university students’ protest against tuition increment.
Over 60 students have been arrested and detained while about 13 others brutalised and hospitalised since Tuesday when students started a protest against 15 percent cumulative tuition increment approved by the top governing body, the university council, last year.
In a letter addressed to the university vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe and copied to the minister for Kampala, among other authorities, Mr Lukwago states that Makerere University councillor, Ms Doreen Nyanjura petitioned Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) over the impasse at the university.
According to her, the university campus has been turned into a garrison after a heavy deployment of officers and men of different security agencies including the military.
Mr Lukwago further states that Ms Nyanjura told the council sitting on Friday morning that there are shocking violation of students’ rights who have been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, brutality, destruction of property and sexual molestation as well as detention of students who have been denied access to their lawyers, personal physician and loved ones.
“In the course of our deliberation, members registered their concerns over the deplorable state of affairs that has regrettably turned our revered university into a centre of savagery as opposed to academic excellence,” Mr Lukwago states in a letter dated October 25, 2019.
According to him, the council sitting resolved that his office formerly registers KCCA’s concerns and writes to the university management.
“I hereby do, with suggestions that a university council meeting be urgently convened to address the matters in controversy. The hiked tuition structure which triggered the chaos be retabled before an emergency council meeting with a view of rescinding or revising it,” Mr Lukwago further states before adding that the university council should work on modalities of engaging all relevant stakeholders including the students’ guild on all the controversial policy matters.
Earlier, the university management said the policy only applied to new students who would be required to pay the 15 percent cumulative increment in five years’ time.
However, the student leadership led by their guild, Julius Kateregga who was also arrested, contended that they would not stand by and watch as their siblings are subjected to unfair fees structure.