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Student Leaders Call for Revival of Activism in Universities

Moses Byamugisha, the Guild President at the Law Development Center (LDC) told journalists on Friday that the government has rendered activism meaningless to the extent that there’s a general belief among students that for one to be heard they have to be violent.

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Student leaders are seeking to revive activism in higher institutions of learning which they say has lost vibrancy.

Moses Byamugisha, the Guild President at the Law Development Center (LDC) told journalists on Friday that the government has rendered activism meaningless to the extent that there’s a general belief among students that for one to be heard they have to be violent.

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 Because of the resultant fear, he says many students can no longer carry the fearless banners that their predecessors carried to influence change yet many of their colleagues are still battling injuries from the early strikes that for instance happened in Makerere University against tuition fees increment a few years ago.   

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On her part, Anita Komugisha a student leader at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) said the spirit of activism in Ugandan Universities has been hit hard by the fact that students are no longer foresighted and only care about the present.

She said unlike before when a university student was held with high regard and had a contribution to especially the politics of the country, many are now buried into how to pass exams and course work.

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The students who were on Friday meeting a Youth Rights NGO Youthline Forum Uganda to brainstorm on how they can revive university movements said they are mostly impeded by the fact that they cannot afford legal fees when they are apprehended saying that previously some of their colleagues who demonstrated had to be incarcerated because they couldn’t afford to hire lawyers to negotiate for things as simple as a police bond that is supposed to free. 

Ruth Asiimwe, the Executive Director of Youthline Forum says that they have started a partnership that not only brings together university students here but will also facilitate them to share notes with colleagues across the East African Region to fight for their rights.

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One of the strategies that they are pushing for is for students to amplify any injustices that happen to their colleagues through social media platforms by sharing information widely whenever it comes through.

She says they will also be able to avail them with the legal support they need as this points out as one of the reasons that many students have recently opted to censor themselves and yet quietly suffer the brunt of especially political injustices characterized by abductions and unexplained detentions. 

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