Students at Muteesa I Royal University blocked a meeting of the university council this morning in an attempt to force the dismissal of the vice chancellor Prof Arthur Sserwanga.
The meeting chaired by Dr Frank Sebbowa, the university council chairman, at the main campus in Kirumba - Masaka municipality, ended prematurely when students, armed with placards and clubs, raided the meeting venue demanding that the vice chancellor be relieved of his duties. The students vandalized the vice chancellor's vehicle.
The students accuse the VC of incompetence and failure to effectively manage the Masaka-based university campus. Led by the guild president Jesse Lumu, the students protested over poor sanitation at the campus, lack of text books, dilapidated structures and failure to pay lecturers salaries.
The irate students attempted to lynch Prof Sserwanga but were restrained by Masaka municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga, a member of the university council.
While, Prof Sserwanga was locked in his office for safety, the students tasked Sebbowa to explain why the lecturers have gone for three months without pay.
“These lecturers are demanding for three month. Another concern they are saying, the VC is paid a ‘fat’ salary according to the condition of the university. The VC is getting almost Shs 25m. The lecturers are getting Shs 800,000, you can see the imbalance [yet] it is these people [lecturers] who are executing the work at the university.
That is their worry because the VC us getting higher pay but he is no longer there at the main campus. Last time I tried to complain about it, I went to him and talked to him but he answered him frankly ‘I will not come to the main campus’ If you come to the main campus right now all offices are closed, you can not locate the academic registrar at the main campus. The VC controls the university account single-handedly. There is no institution that runs like that. The VC appoints people that are related to him”, Lumu charged.
Lumu told council members that Prof Sserwanga has “destroyed the university's glory” and should be retired in public interest. Dr Sebbowa pleaded with the angry students for calm saying the university council will address all their grievances by close of today.
“You [students] have to allow us to execute those three. By the end of the day we might actually have a better solution than what you are asking for. I had talked to your student leaders earlier the student’s guild explaining the heart we have from what we see.
We want to propose that whoever is the leader in your group give us time so we finish what we are saying. The message is loud and clear. What shall we achieve by banging boxes, waving sticks all over. What do you achieve? We know what we need, you know what you want. That is my suggestion that you don’t riot but we go back to constructive discussion”