Parliament resolves to investigate Makerere University fees strike

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Parliament has passed a motion, directing the Committee on Education and Sports to investigate the crisis at Makerere University and report back by 13 November 2019. The motion was moved by the education shadow minister, Mathias Mpuuga summarising MPs responses to the education minister’s statement on the Makerere fracas.

The directive issued by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga requires the committee to carry out investigations guided by seven recommendations contained in the motion.

MPs want Makerere to immediately rescind the suspension and expulsion of all students accused of participating in the strike and proposed for democratic ways of resolving the conflict.

Parliament directed the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs to withdraw the military from the university and the Minister of Internal Affairs to ensure that the Police restrain violent conduct, respect student’s rights and protect student’s property.

The UPDF representative, Brig. Flavia Byekwaso, opposed this recommendation on grounds that the army is necessary to help in guarding students. She proposed that “the army can be withdrawn from the university but it should watch over hostels since they are many and all over”.

The Speaker, however, ruled that majority of the MPs want the army withdrawn from both the university and hostels owing to the cases of brutality reported inside and outside meted out allegedly by them (army).

Parliament has also recommended that Government halts any fees increment at the university until a sustained remedy to financing the university is established by all stakeholders.

On alleged sexual harassment reports, the education committee was directed to investigate all cases of sexual assault on both female and male students by armed forces.

“This will help us to know the offenders so that we have them prosecuted,” said Mpuuga.

Parliament asked government to table a supplementary budget to cater for budgetary deficits at Makerere until a sustainable financing is arrived at.

“If 15 percent is collected from all students, it will total to Shs 4.6 billion and in three years, this will be Shs 30 billion which we can afford as a country. The education minister should have already raised a supplementary budget,” said the Chief Opposition Whip, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.

A recommendation was also passed to investigate alleged university mismanagement and abdication of duty by the current management team and further called on the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit.

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