By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Tension has emerged at Makerere University as a group Six students tookup steps and dragged the University to the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala seeking for orders that would see the University’s Vice Chancellor’s powers trimmed over alleged abuse of office.
In a petition filed on Tuesday November 12 morning, six students that is; Abbas Luyombo, Judith Nalukwago, Mariam Kyomugisha, Julius Mbabazi Muyambi, Marion Kirabo and David Musiri urge that their freedoms are under suffocation by the university management with threats of suspension stemming from regulations 6(1)(d) and 8(9)(a) of the Makerere University Students Regulations Statutory Instrument which gives the vice-chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe unquestioned powers to suspend any student at will.
These through their lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha Company Advocates said that the Vice Chancellor has powers to suspend a student from the university or to discipline him in any manner he thinks fit and thereafter seek approval of his action at the next meeting of the University Disciplinary Committee which they contend that it denies or threatens the affected students a right to a fair hearing, natural justice and administrative powers.
The application is supported by two affidavits of Judith Nalukwago and Marion Kirabo who say that the said regulation is imprecise and vague, which makes it subject to different interpretations by the VC which is very dangerous for the students who would be subject to it.
“The regulation leaves me [Kirabo] and other students uncertain as to whether or when a fair hearing will be given since the VC usually promises in suspension letters a hearing at an unspecified time”, reads the affidavits in part.
The students now want court to declare that Regulation 6(1)(d) of the Makerere University Students Regulations Statutory Instrumentno.37 of 2015 which gives powers to the Vice Chancellor to arbitrarily suspend a student from the University or discipline him in any manner he thinks fit and seek approval of his action in the next meeting of the disciplinary commit is vague, arbitrary, illegal, null and void.
“Court should declare that Regulation 6(1)(d) of the students regulations at Makerere University is subjective, imprecise and inimical to the principle of legality.”
Following the recent students’ demonstrations against the 15 percent tuition increment, nine students were suspended and 26 others issued with stern warnings for taking part in the protest.
“Management has taken disciplinary action on students who have destroyed University property, injured fellow students and property for businesses operating outside. The involved students have been suspended and others warned,” the statement on University’s official twitter handle read in part.