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MasterCard expresses support for Makerere fees strike

Mollie Siperia Saasiraabo

Mollie Siperia Saasiraabo

Mollie Siperia Saasiraabo, the Makerere University student accused of leading a strike over the 15 per cent tuition hike will not lose her MasterCard Foundation scholarship.   

Saasiraabo is one of the students sponsored by MasterCard and Toni Tiemens, the director corporate communications at the foundation headquarters in Toronto in Canada disclosed to URN in an email that Saasiraabo remains a valued member of the scholars community and will continue to access all support and services the Scholars Program offers at Makerere University.  

“The MasterCard Foundation supports freedom of expression, believes in civil discourse, and encourages students and leaders to work towards a peaceful resolution,” Tiemens explains.

On Thursday last week, the MasterCard Foundation issued a statement expressing deep concern for the safety and security of all people at Makerere University.

“The Foundation is deeply concerned about the violence taking place at Makerere University surrounding the student protests related to the fee structure at the university.  The Foundation supports freedom of expression and believes in civil discourse.  The Foundation does not condone violence in any situation,” reads the statement in part.   

The foundation sponsors 1,000 needy but academically bright Ugandan students at Makerere University. Saasiraabo is among the nine students suspended by Makerere University for their alleged involvement in the on-going strike and destruction of university property. She was suspended while still in police custody on Tuesday last week following her arrest together with 14 other female students.  

Following their initial peaceful protest two weeks ago against the 15 per cent tuition increment, Saasiraabo, who is also the Guild Representative Councilor for the School of Psychology was attacked at night near Complex Hall.  

The First Lady also minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni has since attacked 'dishonest' and 'corrupt' students like Saasiraabo for striking against tuition increment yet they are well sponsored and not affected at all by the fees policy. In her defence, Saasiraabo said she was demonstrating on behalf of fellow struggling students especially girls who she knows are engaged in prostitution so as to be able to get money for their education. 

The 15% tuition and functional fees increment was passed by the University Council in June 2018. It requires that every student enrolling for a new course at Makerere pay 15% more in addition to the previous year’s fees.

The increment is expected to be cumulative for the next five years.  However, students have since protested the policy now in its second year of implementation, saying it discriminates the poor.  


0 #1 Lakwena 2019-11-04 08:44
My beef with the 15% cumulative increment of tuition is that: it is in itself an act of futility.

Futility because, if the current students/parents can't afford the current fee structure; e.g., over 2,000 student could not sit for their last academic 2018/2019 year examinations; what financial or economic miracle will make the incoming students/parents afford the cumulative 15% increment?

It is like the the debacle of the Graduated Tax: The high cost of collecting the GT was not worth the amount collected.

If e.g. in November I can hardly afford a kilo of sugar at Shs.3500, what makes a shopkeeper think that in December I can afford his sugar at Shs.4025, and in January I can easily pay Shs.4,630?

In other words, dishonesty and burying the head in the proverbial sand (escaping from reality) is our political and institutional problem. Unless that is addressed, as country we can keep dreaming.
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+4 #2 Edward mukyanda 2019-11-04 11:11
Quote: "The First Lady also minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni has since attacked 'dishonest' and 'corrupt' students like Saasiraabo for striking against tuition increment yet they are well sponsored and not affected at all by the fees policy."

Maama Janet please try to relate above to why president museveni went to the bush. Sure he was not the one rigged of victory.

"All must use whatever energy they have to fight for them disadvantaged, and for a better world for all of humanity".
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-3 #3 kabayekka 2019-11-04 11:50
Indeed the Minister has a point to try and tell off the students who are well sponsored in the university.

Because certainly this expensive tuition increase, these rich international companies are able to pay up.

For the poor kids who have difficult to pay and those who have been loaned money to pay, there is the worry about better employment when they finish their courses. That the Minister seems to have no concern about it.
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0 #4 Apollo 2019-11-04 19:44
A predictable future action may be for the Education Minister to pile obstacles in the way of Mastercard Foundation.

The foundation stands to be accused of several infringements, including promotion of homosexuality, undermining government programs, e.t.c.

After investigations the Government may proceed to set impossible conditions that may include having government representation on the Board of the Foundation as well as government vetting of the sponsorship list. Hell hath no fury ….
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