Thursday, 8 May 2008

Cabinet Meets on Makerere Future

As exams approach on campus the atmosphere continues to one of near-open hostility between senior management and the academic staff, represented by the MUASA union. In recent days the union has threatened to stop teaching all evening classes for privately sponsored students (full disclosure: that's me) from next semester unless allowances of over 10 billion UG shillings are settled. Cabinet is now calling an emergency session to try and solve the financial mismanagement at Makerere, the root cause of the lecturers' strike earlier this year. The President has promised to chair cabinet on May 23rd to specifically address Makerere and its woes.

The missing 10 billion has apparently been channelled into infrastructure improvements but any visitor to campus would find that hard to believe. The roads are deteriorating at a rapid state and are currently in an embarrassing condition. When you hear people praising Kampala City Council roads in comparison, you know things have got bad.

The President's clout is now needed to solve the problem. With NRM-leaning candidates having taken both the Student's Guild and the Council of Graduate Studies, let's hope that the President no longer views Makerere as a bastion for the opposition and will direct some of his energy to bashing heads together to come up with a lasting settlement. What is sure is that the time for 'band-aid' solutions is over. We need radical ideas to break the impasse and stop the endless speculation which is harming both the students and the academics.

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