President Museveni will set up a visitation committee to look into the incessant strikes at Makerere University after the latest lecturers’ sit-down strike provoked an Executive order closing it down indefinitely.
In a statement issued on Friday evening after she had held an inconclusive crisis meeting with ministry officials at State House, Education minister Janet Museveni said the President will, at an unspecified date, set the terms of reference for the anticipated committee.
“In pursuance of Section 26(3) [of the University and Tertiary Institutions Act, 2001], the Visitor in due course will institute a Visitation Committee to Makerere University. The terms of reference and the duration of the visitation will be determined by the Visitor,” Ms Museveni, who is also the First Lady, said in her statement.
Under the University and Tertiary Institutions Act, the President is named as the ‘Visitor’ of each public university, and is granted powers to perform an overall supervisory role over the affairs of these institutions.
In the meantime, Ms Museveni appealed to students, parents, benefactors and the Makerere University community to remain calm while the government seeks a lasting solution to the institution’s problems.
But just as the minister was meeting her officials, Mr Museveni was fuming at a function in southwestern Uganda. The President told his audience as he officiated at the coronation of Prof Mondo Kangoyera as Kabale University Chancellor that his government will not be held at ransom.
“We shall not tolerate public servants that coerce government by staging demonstrations and strikes as they demand for payments instead of dialogue. Education systems in Uganda must know that the people of Uganda want the type of education that gives jobs to their children,” Mr Museveni said.
Teaching staff at the Makerere went on strike after getting fed up of management’s unfulfilled promises to pay them more than Shs28 billion in incentive allowances, which have gone unpaid over the last eight months.
This newspaper on Thursday reported that ministry of Education had settled for a probe committee into the university’s management, financial problems and strikes.