On Monday, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe ordered the university to close the School of Law indefinitely; he accuses the school’s dons of deliberately refusing to return to class and inciting colleagues to remain on strike.
Analysts think the VC’s directive is only likely escalate the already bad situation at the country’s leading and oldest university.
Below we bring you views of Ugandans on the state of affairs at Makerere.
Isaac N. Mpanga, City Lawyer : I’ve usually heard people’s beef for lawyers and I thought they were just illiterate but I think its real. So if the medical school tells him there is a cholera outbreak at MUK will he also close it?
Mwambutsya Ndebesa; Makerere University Hiostory Don: If Makerere University was a state it would be called a crisis state. There will always be conflicts in society or organisations. What makes a difference between say a resilient society and crisis society is the ability of that organisation/society to cope with and manage conflicts. Now Makerere has failed to manage conflicts because of among other reasons lack of effective authority.
The main authority at a public University in Uganda is the governing council. What is it doing now! It is supposed to mediate between different competing interests but it appears it is either helpless, clueless about challenges at Mak. or is taking sides.
There is ministry of education with a whole minister of Higher education. what is he doing? There is a chancellor who even if ceremonial he can give authoritative advice. where is he? When there are competing interests between two sides as indeed it is between the VC and the associations at Makerere. then the council which should keep some authority distance from the two should come in and mediate or act.
Dr Abed Bwanika: The conduct at Makerere is a conduct of a primary school. Whoever is manning that university should know that Makerere University is not a primary school. We have serious problems because of the composition of the Council. Whatever the administration cannot do, the council must help the university solve the problems. If they (council) are silent then they don’t have capacity.
Karamagi Andrew; Lawyer : Given the fate of public entities like Uganda Commercial Bank and Coffee Marketing Board, it is not far-fetched to think that Makerere University is being rundown with a view to kill it and thereafter, justify its privatisation. The vultures and fat cats will come and eat away the carcass in the same way they did to Uganda Airlines, Diary Corporation and dozens of other state-owned parastatals and enterprises in the name of refurbishing the institution.
This is the same method that was used to steal Uganda’s public assets under the guise and imperative of austerity (Structural Adjustment). Privatisation was a cover for the stealing of public properties. We were lied to by the World Bank and the Museveni Junta that state-owned entities cannot be efficiently run unless they are in private hands. Education, healthcare and other essential public services are now in the hands of robber barons and wheeler dealers.
Simon Njala Kaggwa, Jounalist: Don’t be quick to condemn Prof. Nawangwe. He could be going through problems that require counselling. If we continue treating him like this, he could make a big mistake that will cost the University dearly.