The Parliament made a report into last year’s violence and demonstrations at the Makerere University. The Report was made in December 2019, but only released in public now in February 2020. Therefore, I got it in hand today and will dwell on some aspects of it. As it shows what sort of fashion that went down and what the MPs see as vital information for the public to know after the deeds was done at the campus.
As the report states: “the demonstration led by the 85t1, Female Caucus was legitimate in nature [Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda] and did not merit the brutal conduct of the University administration and the security operatives in managing the protests” (..) “there was lack of evidence to suggest that the University Students’ Disciplinary Committee headed by Justice Precious Ngabirano had convened meetings to hear and determine allegations levelled against the affected students. The Committee notes that it is now coming to two months without any report from the University Disciplinary Committee” (Parliament Report, 2019).
Just by these simple paragraphs shows the extent of force used to a demonstrations that had merit, which the University combined with the authorities escalated. As we known by following the events to a violent path.
As it further states: “The Committee observes that the deployment of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces [UPDF] to participate in the management of the protests at the University were not justifiable” (Parliament Report, 2019). With these words in mind, it is not strange that the UPDF and the authorities, which was not justified, misused their means on civilians and students alike. The acts of ill towards citizens and students demonstrating at unfair raise of student fees. Which is a natural reaction to sudden change of livelihood.
While the minority report stated this for instance: “the senior Minister of Education and Sports makes a public apology in light of the statement she made depicting Makerere University as a drug infested institution. We presume the statement is an indictment to the students and the university at large, and her apology would restore confidence and trust on Makerere University” (Parliament report, 2019).
Also, states a reason why there was no evidence in the majority report of sexual harassment: “The Committee on Education and Sports did not spare time to specifically inquire and interface with alleged victims of sexual harassment at the Campus of Makerere University” (…) “One female student [names uithheld] testified that she was subjected to verbal sexual insults inside the hostel and at Wandegeya Police Station after her arrest. Among the insults, a uniformed security officer threatened called her a prostitute and threatened to put his genitalia in her mouth” (Parliament Report, 2019). Therefore, the concerns of these actions made by security personnel, neither police nor soldiers on the ground. Show, that there was no actions being done to ensure their hurt nor their stories to collaborate with the alleged sexual harassment. This could have further shown the ills that were done and the amount of pain the students went through those weeks of last year.
Let me end with a final statement from the Minority report: “The recent students’ demonstration at Makerere was indicative of the fact that some interests were ignored by the University authorities” (Parliament Report, 2019). That is enough. Peace.