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Nawangwe suspends 3 Makerere University students over NUP rally

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe

Makerere University has suspended three students belonging to the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party for allegedly holding a demonstration at Freedom Square last Friday.

The affected students are Calvin Mwesigwa Mugambwa, Edwin Price Bbosa, and Kenneth Katushabe who are all vying for the NUP party ticket to run for the Makerere University guild presidential seat.

In his June 27 suspension letter, Makerere University vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe accuses the students of engaging in acts of demonstration when they organized a NUP Makerere Chapter general assembly on July 24 at which, the respective aspiring candidates were expected to address fellow students. The police arrested the students on their way to Freedom Square.

Nawangwe says the students have been suspended on grounds of indiscipline contrary to the university regulations that provide that “Demonstrations either within or outside the university shall be held only in accordance with the laws of Uganda provided the vice-chancellor has been informed at least 24 hours in advance and police permission had been obtained.” 

He directed the students to vacate the university premises indefinitely until investigations into their conduct are completed for them to appear before the disciplinary committee. 

NUP secretary-general, David Lewis Rubongoya, who was expected to preside over the rally, says the NUP party condemns the suspension of its student members, saying this is very unfortunate and a deliberate attempt to target NUP candidates.

“The deliberate targeting of NUP candidates in the guild race is not only unfair, but it is also illegal, cowardly, and high-handed. Makerere University students must be allowed to select leaders of their choice. Our legal team has been requested to study this matter and pursue means of setting aside the illegal actions. We hope for now, that the authorities at the University will reconsider this decision," said Rubongoya.

He says that the party's legal team has been requested to study the suspension by the university to take appropriate action. 

Students 'suspend' Nawangwe

Meanwhile, the students through an anonymous have also suspended the vice chancellor Nawangwe over what they termed as an irrational and illegal decision to suspend the three students.

"While Article 29(d) of the constitution of Uganda which is the supreme law of the land and the university rules and regulations give students the freedom to assemble and to demonstrate, you have continuously surpassed this. Well knowing that you are the master of this trade, for you used demonstration tactics to unseat your predecessor, you have used suspensions to intimidate and scare students that don’t side with you," the letter reads.

“We bring it to your attention that none of the suspended students involved themselves in any of the acts mentioned in rule 9(b). The students peacefully moved to the private square to attend a general assembly…However, they were welcomed by your brutal forces that beat them up, arrested and detained them at Makerere University police station...By the power [vested] into us by Article 1 (1) of the constitution, we hereby suspend you from the office of vice chancellor until further notice. We, therefore, recommend that you use this time on suspension to read and regain your lost wisdom," the letter reads. 

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