Government has entered a deal with a former Makerere University student to develop his teargas prototype to standard and start manufacturing the product, the Nile Post has learnt.
The deal was entered between Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Samuel Mugarura, a former Makerere University student at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity who manufactured teargas recently.
“The purpose of this Agreement is to provide the principal investigator with a grant to carry out a Research and Innovation Project titled; TEAR GAS PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND PROTOTYPE STANDARDIZATION,” the agreement, a copy of which this website has seen says.
According to the agreement Mugarura will complete the product and will operate using the finances and in the space as provided by government.
“The grantee further agrees to provide physical space, access to utilities, institutional and any other service necessary for the successful carrying out of the project,” the agreement reads in part.
“The grantee (government) is acting as an independent contractor in the performance of work under this grant, and shall be solely responsible for the payment of any and all claims for loss, personal injury, 4 death, property damage, or otherwise, arising out of any act or omission of its employee or agents in connection with the performance of work under this grant.”
The six month project according to the agreement will see shs220 million injected.
In 2016, Mugarura then 23 years old announced he can manufacture teargas using local materials, a product he said had been improved to a level used by police to quell riots.
He later tested his product successfully.
“I have now developed a fully functioning teargas canister that can be used by government to quell riots. We have included irritants from natural products like onions, mangoes and hot pepper which have no effect on the health of people to whom it is thrown,” Mugarura said.
He insists that since the ingredients are made from natural products, his product does not have any effect on the life of people unlike the ones used by police that are toxic and have a cancer effect.
“It has a time of 4 seconds before exploding after removing the spring(trigger) which makes it difficult for any person to have a chance to throw it back to police during a riot, ”he says .
Named MS 23, Mugarura’s product is cost effective and goes for about $10, a cost he says is lower than the one by international companies which he said would help save alot of money for government.
He revealed that he has also developed pepper sprays that can be used by members of the public for their safety at a lower price than the ones used by police.
“The farmers of mangoes, onions and hot pepper will get markets for their products as well as creating jobs by this product. You never know the country can start exporting some of it to other countries and we earn something to help us attain the middle income status,” he noted.
Mugarura however applauded government through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation for supporting his project through research.
“We have been allocated shs 400 million and we are setting up a production line in Luweero industries. Government has been so helpful in mentoring and supporting our team,”Mugarura added.
Government speaks out
The Director of Science, Research and Innovation at the Ministry, Dr. Maxwell Otim Onapa confirmed government has agreed to assist Mugarura to start producing teargas locally.
“Part of our mission as the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation is to support researchers and innovators to come up with products that are useful to society by solving problems. We know teargas is offensive but product used worldwide to control crowds. We agreed to assist him,” Dr.Otim said.
He admitted that first, government questioned Mugarura but later realized he has a good idea that they could work with him to produce it here and government stops importing it.
“He gave us a good concept and we have been supporting him through the National Council for Science and Technology. He found space in Nakasongola with Luweero industries. We are to assist him with finances.”
The ministry official added that they will ensure Mugarura comes up with products that can be tested and validated to see if they can benefit the country.
“If it is something useful to society, he can make money out of it by producing and selling it to government and also export because teargas is used everywhere. The Ministry will continue supporting researchers and innovators to come up with solutions to societal problems.”