Six students from Makerere University have taken their vice-chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe to court challenging alleged abuse of power.
The students; Abbas Ruyombo, Judith Nalukwago, Mariam Mugisha Kyomugisha, Julius Mbabazi Muyambi, Marion Kirabo and David Musiri have petitioned the Civil Division of High court specifically challenging Rule 6 (1) (d) of the 2015 Makerere University Regulations which gives the vice-chancellor unquestioned powers to suspend any student at will.
According to the regulations, 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.
The students through their lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha Company Advocates contend that the said regulation denies or threatens to deny 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.
They are also challenging Regulation 8(9) of the Makerere University Students Regulations Statutory Instrument Number 37 of 2015. This requires mandatory permission from the police before students hold any form of demonstration.
The students who have sued in the capacity to protect the image of the institution now want court to stop further reliance and enforcement of the said regulations. The students also want a declaration that all decisions, orders, and directives based on the said regulations are illegal and thus null and void.