Makerere University Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe has pardoned three students who were suspended for protesting the eviction of small businesses at the university.
In 2022, Makerere University Council ordered all businesses to vacate campus premises, a decision that was recently implemented. The businesses included photocopy and stationery shops, food stalls, restaurants, canteens, hair salons, mobile money kiosks, and others.
The University Council’s decision was based on the findings that numerous business activities that were operating on university premises do not relate to its core functions, while some businesses operate in non-designated spaces.
However, the decision was greeted with protests from a section of university students who argued that they were the direct beneficiaries of these businesses and that evicting them without providing solutions would be a disservice to the majority of them.
They further contended that students, especially those living in halls of residence near the canteens, rely on these services. Evicting them, the students argued, would put students, especially those with disabilities, at a significant disadvantage.
Last month, the police went ahead and evicted the businesses, but as the eviction was going on, several students led by Vice Guild President Mariat Namiiro demanded answers from the administration
The suspended students were Ronald Odama, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, Simon Wandukwa studying Law, and Bruce Mwebaze, enrolled in a Bachelor of Science program in Petroleum Geo-science and Production.
According to Nawangwe in a letter a copy seen by URN, he had revoked their suspension after the students apologized.
“In lieu of the written and oral explanations and apology from yourself, I hereby recede your suspension and reinstate you as a student of Makerere University. I urge and warn you to desist from any further actions that disturb the peace at the University and bring the University into disrepute,” reads part of the letter.