Ugandan musician turned politician Robert Kyagulani alias Bobi Wine has applauded female students’ leaders in Makerere University who on Tuesday protested over tuition fee hike.
“Inspired seeing young women courageously protest injustice in the face of brute force. Afraid of the population, President Museveni criminalised this constitutional right and will respond to any protest with extreme violence! Our struggle is about ending this wanton abuse of the law,” Wine posted on Twitter.
The female student leaders were reportedly roughed up by the Ugandan police whose brutality extended to most of the demonstrators.
The accumulative tuition fee increment policy for new students was implemented two years ago and is expected to run for the next three years. This means that students enrolled in 2023 will pay 75 per cent more than those enrolled in 2018.
The students intended to march to President Museveni’s office to present a petition to have the annual 15 per cent tuition increment policy scrapped saying it is unfair.
According to NBS TV, over 20 students from the institution were arrested and were facing charges of inciting violence and unlawful assembly.
They were later on released on bail in the evening.
Two student leaders, Siperia Mollie and Frank Bwambale were handed suspension letters and several others issued with warning letters for inciting violence, vice-chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe told reporters.
“Well, all I can tell you is I wasn’t surprised at all that I got it (suspension letter). That’s the trend now at Makerere University. Everyone who tries to express themselves is suppressed to the core. It was no surprise to me at all,” said Mollie.
Kateregga Julius, the president of Makerere University Guild told NBS that the fee has been increasing in the last five years despite addressing the matter with the management.
“We’ve engaged the university management on the issue of increasing tuition but it has kept on increasing for five years straight,” said Julius.
Some universities in Kenya have suffered almost a similar case in the recent past with learning suspended indefinitely.
Kenyatta, Moi, Masinde Muliro and Pwani Universities were some of the universities where unrest ensued after comrades protested against some of their managements’ policies.