Foreign students studying at Makerere University are still stranded ever since President Yoweri Museveni ordered the institution closed on Tuesday.
The university has over 500 foreign students who are now stranded after the council ordered them to vacate the halls of residence.
Elisa Scheld, a student from Germany told NBS television that the closure is strange because in her country, a university does not close.
“I have never experienced such a situation before. No university in Germany has ever closed…not even with the intervention of the president,” Elisa said while her equally stranded colleague Manuel Muller looked on helplessly.
Makerere University Guild President Roy Semboga said these students have to either use planes [Europe and Asia] or buses for the case of Kenyan and Tanzania student yet they may not be ready in such emergencies.
Emmanuel Shema, the guild minister for international affairs, asked government and the administration to be considerate and help foreign students since they have already paid all the dues.
Ultimatum to government
On Thursday, a group of about seven students accepted to adopt opposition leader Kizza Besigye’s defiance campaign and gave government 24 hours to open the university or they take violent action.
They are; Simon Wanyera (Education), Ronald Ainebyona (Law), Robinson Wabulembo (FEMA), Patrick Kafeero(Statistics), Henry Buyondo (Industrial Art), Fahad Kwisaba (College of Humanities) and Paul Kato (Education).
Simon Wanyera, a member of the Guild Representative Council (GRC), says most students have paid the tuition hence have no excuse for missing lectures.
He said most students are still wandering on the streets of Kampala after police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi ordered them to vacate campus premises including; playgrounds, canteens and halls of residence.
“For the stranded students, we have rooms where we shelter them at the police,” Kaweesi said while visiting the institution with police chief Kale Kayihura.
“We don’t have transport to go home. There is famine in Isingiro, why send people there?” one of the students was heard lamenting.
Besigye attacks Museveni
Commenting on the matter, Besigye said: “Makerere University students should defy. They shouldn’t go anywhere. We have a regime that doesn’t value education.”
Besigye said Museveni’s regime doesn’t understand that any country depends on how educated its people are.
But the Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof Dumba Ssentamu maintained that the President made the right decision to close the university.
“The university council called on me to temporarily close the university because the teachers were not teaching. We are going to open Makerere University as soon as possible so that our children can study,” Museveni told press in Luweero on Wednesday.
Besigye questioned whether students being sent back home have been refunded their money.
“Many parents of these children scratched hard to find money. We have a regime that doesn’t value education. It doesn’t understand that any country depends on how educated its people are.”
Besigye described Museveni’s order to close the university as “disgraceful” and asked students to defy it.
He said the lecturers’ money has been robbed by a few people.
“It is not just Makerere. The entire country has been plundered dry. I have a direct stake in what happens at Makerere, as a political leader, citizen and parent. I have a responsibility to engage.”