Makerere University Closure Has Negative Impact On Business Community


Earlier this month, it was reported that Uganda president Yoweri Museveni has ordered the closure of Makerere University. This came as the aftermath of student and staff protests.

The directive by the president was issued on Tuesday evening, Nov. 1. The university was closed "with immediate effect, until further notice, in order to guarantee safety of persons and property."

Makerere University, known as Uganda's highest learning institution, was shut down after protests by its academic staff and students. The school's educators went on strike in late October and refused to teach.

Apparently, the government has not paid professors their allowances. They decided to go on strike until the government pays their incentive arrears in full. The current outstanding payment has reached about 30 billion Ugandian shillings, which is equivalent to over $8.3 million.

The closure of the university has had a negative impact not only on the school's community. It has affected the business community surrounding the institution.

New Vision reported that the business community around Makerere University has continued to despair over its closure. It was noted that the government has promised to pay the school's faculty their November salary but it comes as no consolation to the business owners.

"We are struggling to survive in this harsh business environment," Seth Mujuni, who operates a kiosk behind Complex Hall, said. "Those who sell perishables have since followed the students out of campus after their supplies got rotten without buyers."

Majority of his customers, currently, are Makerere University students who refused to go back home. Other customers are the two security guards from a nearby ATM.

On Nov. 14, Dr. Rose Nassali Lukwago, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education and Sports wrote a letter to the University Secretary, Charles Barugahare, saying that the staff will still receive their November pay. This is because they were not dismissed.

Since the closure directive by President Museveni, all offices have been closed. The staff have also been asked to hand in their keys to all university cars.

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