KAMPALA – Henry Mwanaki Alinaitwe – the Makerere University, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in Charge of Finance and Administration, has urged the students’ Guild leadership work towards achieving a common goal.
The Mak Don made the remarks on Monday while presiding over the swearing-in exercise of the newly elected Guild leaders – President, Lawrence Alionzi as well as his cabinet, representatives, Chairpersons, and other student leaders.
Alionzi, who is affiliated with the National Unity Platform – NUP, garnered 5,839 votes, beating his National Resistance Movement – NRM rival Hussein Ibra, who managed 2,079 while FDC’s Justice Tukamushaba convinced 1,758 to support his failed attempt.
Prof Alinaitwe noted that while he recognised the numerous challenges – such as suspensions and delays in obtaining grades, which students faced, the newly elected leaders had to collaborate with the University administration to solve the same concerns without, causing havoc.
Makerere students have long been known for holding protests within and outside the university to express their grievances, and Prof. Alinaitwe describes such actions as hooliganism, which the new leadership should not support.
He commended the virtual election, which he believes was one of the solutions to looming chaos that has for long characterised the Guild Elections.
“I am very glad that you have reported that the system works better because you have seen from the numbers I got from the chairperson of the electoral commission,” he said.
Winfred Kabumbuli, the Dean of students, said while Alionzi might be ambitious in seeing things going right, he had to adjust to the situation –m owing to the fact that University was facing financial challenges.
Alionzi, who observed a moment of silence for the fallen UCU student who was killed during the Guild Campaigns in July, said that while his term was short, he would work hard to make sure that key issues affecting students were solved.
“It is already said that this is a very short-term of government, but this is a guild for the students and with the students, and it might be obscene to speak for the people, I will speak with people,” he said. He further said that one of the core issues he was would advocate for was the immediate renovation of Lumumba hall of residence, which issue has been pending since students were ordered to vacate in September.
Earlier, the Makerere Vice-Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said his administration was lobbying for Ugx100b to renovate all halls of residence. He said the face-lift would start with Lumumba hall, at an estimated to cost Ugx8.9b.
Apparently, students who were residing in Lumumba hall have since been re-distributed to other halls as the University prepares to kick start the renovation works. Other halls lined up for renovation, according to Prof Nawangwe include Mitchell hall, Livingstone, Nsibirwa, Nkrumah, University hall, Complex hall, Africa hall, and Mary Stewart hall, respectively.
For years, several students have raised concerns about the state of the halls of residence at the University.
Alionzi also said that he is looking at advocating for an increase in lecture rooms to avoid conducting lectures in halls of residence as it is now.
Alionzi takes over Shamim Nambassa – another NUP but female figure.
Additional reporting by URN