There is a sigh of relief for Makerere University management after government-sponsored students called off their planned strike which was scheduled for Tuesday.
Students who reside outside the university are entitled to a living-out allowance of at least Shs 760,000 per semester to cover their accommodation and meals.
However, some students had only received 33 per cent of their mandatory allowances for the semester. On May 5, the university secretary, Yusuf Kiranda met the demonstrating students at the Senate Building, urging them to refrain from further protests, assuring them that their funds would be disbursed into their accounts by May 15.
However, by the end of Monday yesterday not a single student had received the promised funds, leading to mounting frustration. The students perceived the university secretary's promise as false only aimed at temporarily appeasing their discontent.
Consequently, the guild president Ivan Bwowe issued a letter on May 15 urging fellow students to join him in a peaceful march to the Main Building to demand their allowances.
“Gallant Makerereans, 12:00 am today marks the end of six working days presented to us by the university management through the university secretary. I, therefore, call upon all students of the university to join us as we match peacefully to the main building at exactly 9 am to demand allowances for all government students.” read part of the letter.
But in an unexpected turn of events, the university secretary issued a communication on May 16 assuring the students that, despite the previous delays, the disbursement of funds would commence on the same day.
“This failure to have the funds reach your accounts by 15th May was due to factors beyond management's control, which we did not anticipate when we confirmed the 15th May deadline. The good news, however, is that the funds reflected on the subvention account in Stanbic bank by the close of business on Monday, 15th May 2023, implying that we can now undertake the last step in the payment process, which is the transfer to individual students' bank accounts," said Kiranda.
Indeed, students who held accounts with Stanbic bank began receiving their allowances today morning, with some sharing confirmation messages and screenshots within their respective WhatsApp groups.
Students who had already received their allowances urged their peers to be patient. Following the positive development, the guild president called off the strike, expressing gratitude for the students' patience and emphasizing solidarity among the students' body.
Meanwhile, in a related development, four students have been suspended at Lira University for their alleged active participation in and mobilization of other students during recent demonstrations regarding the allowances of government-sponsored students.