By Nyanjura Doreen Omutatina
Makerere University’s anthem represents values and virtues that whoever goes through Makerere University, must practice and live them. The corner stone of the anthem is standing up against injustices, demanding for freedom and fairness irrespective of the circumstances and that’s why our fore fathers and leaders designated the freedom square for all Makerereans to espouse what they believe is right without any interference and obstruction.
Let me remind Makerere administrators if they have forgotten that worldwide, there is only one University that has retained unique space to be referred to as the tower of knowledge. This reference is not for the buildings, it’s for the people who mainly include students.
It is on the above backdrop that the University has never dropped courses like Human rights, political science and Law among others that continue to inspire and empower the students to stand up against injustices. These courses teach students their right to assemble, their right to speak up, their right to oppose what they deem wrong and their right to demand for answers. The arrogance by the VC of trying to diminish space for fair hearing and failing to follow the known disciplinary procedures is abdication of his cardinal role and responsibility.
The action of deploying the military to torment, hunt down and arrest students whom he suspects to be holding contrary views is total exposure of his inefficiency and intolerance. It is a pity that the University administrators have learnt and forgotten nothing from history that the action of suspending and expelling students is not the panacea to the bigger problem that Uganda and the university faces.
At this crucial moment, silence by other students, other university administrators, lecturers and government can not and should not be tolerated. It is a moment where we expect all well meaning Ugandans to speak up against the evil action of suspending, dismissing and coercing innocent students to apologize in order to find their space back to the University. Your voice against the injustice is a sign that you are not with the oppressor.
How will students grow intellectually when they cannot debate with university officials or express themselves when they feel oppressed? What does the university lose if it tries to address the issues raised by students and convince them otherwise instead of gagging them with suspension letters and dismissals?
It is my hope and belief that reason will prevail and the university administration will reverse it’s ill thought action and allow the students back to class to prevent more precarious situations to explode.
Suspended and dismissed students, You are not on your own.
Nyanjura Doreen Omutatina is LC5 Woman Councillor Makerere University.