Opposition figure Kizza Besigye and People Power Movement founder Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine have condemned the military for occupying Makerere University in a bid to muzzle students who are expressing their grievances.
On Tuesday, students led a protest march to the President’s Office protesting a 15 percent tuition increment which has kept increasing for five years now.
“Why should NRM/M7 Junta leaders, who enjoyed 100% government funded university education, make it impossible for our young people to get University education in public universities?” Besigye wondered.
“That’s why….,” he noted, adding, “Shame: Military terrorising peaceful students (mockingly referred to as “bazzukulu”) legitimately expressing discontent about the cost of their education.”
The Kyadondo East MP on his part backed the female students’ leaders for setting out to hold a peaceful demonstration against a 15% tuition raise.
He said they rose up to speak on behalf of so many poor students who end up having to drop out of university on account of very high tuition fees.
Instead of protecting their constitutional right to protest peacefully, the military was called in, Bobi Wine argued.
“Students, especially ladies, were roughed up and arrested. Others were brutalised and taken to jail. Information coming in shows that some are being dismissed from the University, while others have been given warning letters.”
He went on: “For starters, I must salute the courage of these young women. It gives me great pleasure to see women rise up to speak for social justice. This is evidence that our struggle has come of age- dictatorship and bad governance are in trouble.”
In the same manner, he condemned the violent crackdown of a peaceful demonstration by unarmed students who are only expressing their frustration with an unfair and oppressive policy.
“It is not a crime to peacefully demonstrate! It is a right! Our struggle is about restoring fundamental human rights, as well as ensuring social justice for all citizens.”
Today, Makerere University Guild President Julius Kateregga and Guild Speaker Ezra Byakutangaza alongside several students were arrested and detained at Wandegeya police station.
This didn’t save the situation as lectures were interrupted by striking students prompting police to fire teargas and rubber bullets.
A notice has been issued by the student body calling their colleagues to participate in the “”bloody Thursday” protests.
According to the notice, the protest commences very early in the morning at Lumumba hall, and all other halls.
“All the lectures for tomorrow are henceforth dismissed. Fresher’s are shunning away from the #FEESMUSTFALL campaign so on the bloody Thursday they must forcefully be engaged. It has to start from all university halls,” reads the notice.
Leaders have already been notified and will immediately start when time comes Lumumba and Nkrumah shall go to Kikoni hostel per hostel and “force everyone out, even if you cannot enter, the teargas will drive everyone out”.