Makerere University has finally demolished the illegal kiosks that have been serving cheap food to students. The demolition was done last week on the orders of the Universitys outgoing vice chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu. This came just a day to the reopening of the new semester on Saturday.
Makerere University has finally demolished the illegal kiosks that have been serving cheap food to students.
The demolition was done last week on the orders of the University's outgoing vice chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu. This came just a day to the reopening of the new semester on Saturday.
In his Monday August 7th letter to the proprietors of the structures, Prof. Ddumba ordered kiosk owners to remove them by Wednesday August 9 lest they be charged fees for removing them.
"Your illegal structure is either an annex to the original university structure or makeshift construction that is not authorized by the university. You may wish to be reminded that your illegal structure not only lacks a space allocation letter but is also without a valid contract…," Prof. Ddumba says in his letter.
By Friday last week, none of the kiosk owners had willingly removed the structures which prompted Prof. Ddumba to hire men who put them down amidst opposition by students' leaders and kiosk owners.
Students claim to have been left with no choice since their cheap eating places have been removed.
Indeed one of the students, Godwin Toko, a fourth-year law student described it as "walking a tight rope trying to balance between food prices affordable to all students and the safety and hygiene in regard to food served."
URN understands that during the 160th Estates and Works committee meeting of August 3, the members agreed to remove all illegal structures on condition that the university provides alternative decent eating places for students.
Prof. Ddumba on Monday told URN that there was no need to negotiate with the kiosk owners since Estates department had already resolved and recommended their demolition.
"The estates had a tour of some sections of the campus and after the tour they asked the vice chancellor to take action. Besides, most of them are owned by outsiders like those at the police station are owned by some police men who left here in 2008," Ddumba explained.
Paul Kato, the Guild President told URN that they had been caught by surprise as men armed with claw bars and hammers demolished the structures.
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Kato says that the students' guild had already engaged the university management to ensure that the kiosks are set up before continuing students report this weekend.
During the demolitions, the only students' canteen at Complex Hall, one of the three female halls of residence at the university, was demolished. Students have protested the demolition.
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In 2014 Makerere University stopped providing meals to students in halls of residence, and outsourced catering services to private firms.
Under the new system, students from different halls of residence were grouped to share service points. For instance residents of Mary Stuart, Complex and Lumumba halls have their meals at Mary Stuart; Livingstone shares a serving point with Africa Hall, unlike in the past, where students had meals at their respective halls of residence.
Students however say that these official serving points have strict time schedules. Some students miss meals their meals since most of their lectures run throughout the meal time. This makes restaurants and kiosks relevant as students access food at the time of their convenience.
Not the first time
In January this year, Makerere University demolished all kiosks on the university campus in an attempt to cut down utility bills. However, three police officers; Herbert Mwesigye, Barbie Nathan and Sylvia Namuwombe secretly re-erected their kiosks near Makerere Police station and Livingstone quarters.