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You can’t hold me at ransom, Museveni tells lecturers

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Museveni addressing press at State Lodge Luweero

President Yoweri Museveni has warned that his government will not continue to tolerate civil servants who disorganise state institutions in rampant strikes.

The president was Wednesday talking to press at Kawumu state lodge in Makulubita sub-county in Luweero in reference to striking lecturers of Makerere University.

“I will not be held at ransom. They [lecturers] need to be patient as we look for the money to pay them,” Museveni said.

The lecturers demand atleast Shs28bn salary arrears that accumulated for over eight months.

Museveni says he is not refusing to pay the lecturers who he cautioned against indiscipline.

“I want to tell you that we are not going to tolerate this type of indiscipline anymore. You cannot have somebody okutuga (hold one hostage) government; ‘if you don’t give me money now, am going to paralyse the country. No, no.”

Museveni said payments delaying doesn’t mean the lecturers should strike.

In any case, he continued, government is determined to increase salaries of university professors to Shs 15m from Shs 8m.

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He promised to re-open university as soon the current impasse is resolved.

“We want to open the university as soon as possible so that the children don’t miss their studies.”

Museveni closed the university on Tuesday after a violent students’ strike that was in solidarity with that of lecturers.

Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) blames the persistent strikes at the university on the failures by the administration and council.

The vice chancellor Prof Ddumba Ssentamu says the university is underfunded and has no money to pay lecturers.

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