By Andrew Irumba
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe has suspended Siperia Mollie Saasiraabo, a student and guild leader who led Tuesday’s protests against hiked tuition fees.
It is said that Saasiraabo led other students who walked from MUK campus to Kampala Roads waving placards and shouting as they expressed their discontent about the University’s decision to increase tuition.
Following the protests, several students, who were mainly females, were brutally arrested, bundled onto police patrol trucks and driven to various police stations around Kampala.
However, later in the evening after some of the students being released from police, Nawangwe reportedly issued a suspension letter to Saasiraabo and while informing her fellow protesters about it, she wrote thus on social media;
” Today on the 22/10/2019 at 1600 hours; I received a letter from the Vice Chancellor Makerere University; Prof. Barnabus Nawangwe suspending me from the institution. According to the letter, I was accused of inciting violence and causing anarchy which disrupts University activities. The other girls I had were equally served with fierce warning letters.
This came after an illegal detention of innocent ladies and I at Wandegeya Police Station for good 10 hours with no food or water which was only allowed in after one of us fainted due to hunger while in the coolers. Looking at this letter while my legs were coiled in one of the corners of the police cell with the comfort of the stench and cold floor, I pondered on how an innocent girl who can’t harm even a fly could have incited violence in the University she dearly loves!
Then I remembered the so many girls that have approached me with tears in their eyes telling me the difficulty they go through to raise tuition; I remembered the various campaigns we have had at the school of Psychology as students trying to raise tuition so our fellow students can do exams with us, the stories I have heard from the boys on how they illegally sneak into examination rooms because they have not cleared tuition; I remembered my friends with whom we started first year but could not continue with us all because of the problem in question; the famous Sonia story stuck in my mind so much that I slid the suspension letter in my back pocket and walked away from the police station feeling much more innocent like never before.
If my freedom of expression is to be suppressed to the core, then pardon the eggs forming in my womb by granting them an affordable education.
Siperia Mollie Saasiraabo
Head of the 85th Guild Female Caucus
However, it should be noted that there have been several strikes at Makerere University in the past staged by students protesting against tuition increment, something that has turned into a recurrent perennial problem at the University.