Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43 Tension Escalates Among Mak Business Owners as Eviction Fears Intensify :: Uganda Radionetwork
Julius Gumisiriza, the chairperson of Makerere University Business Owners, revealed that while they had not received official notice of the eviction starting on Monday, they had learned about it through unofficial channels.
Small business operators at Makerere University are under
increasing tension and anxiety as the university management moves closer to
evicting them. The looming eviction, initiated by the university management in
July 2022, has cast a shadow over businesses including photocopy and stationery
shops, food stalls, restaurants, canteens, hair salons, mobile money kiosks,
The anxiety among the business proprietors was exacerbated when
they lost a suit against the university regarding the eviction decision. This
case, which had been pending since July last year, was decided on August 18,
2023, by Justice Boniface Wamala. In his judgment, Justice Wamala stated, "I find that no
illegality has been established to affect the decision of the Respondent
directing the termination of businesses at the Respondent University campus.
Accordingly, this ground is not made by the Applicant."
Following the dismissal of the suit, the Estates and Works Acting Director sent a letter in August 2023 to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Henry Arinaitwe requesting Shillings 20,200,000 to facilitate the
eviction process. In the letter, the estates' department explained that the eviction, originally scheduled for Monday, would be carried out in one day by eight teams of 20 laborers.
The requested funds were intended to cover various expenses associated with the eviction.
Julius Gumisiriza, the chairperson of Makerere University
Business Owners, revealed that while they had not received official notice of
the eviction starting on Monday, they had learned about it through unofficial
channels. He added that despite losing the initial case, there is an ongoing
case in the court of appeal expected to be decided in November.
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However, when our reporter conducted an investigation around the
university, it was observed that various canteens, printers, and other
businesses were still operational. Nevertheless, many business operators
interviewed for this story expressed living in fear due to the uncertainty
surrounding the university's next steps.
One business owner near the girls' hall known as
"Complex," who chose not to be identified, shared, "It is God
who makes decisions, we are praying when they intimidate us, we fear but we are
When contacted for a comment, Makerere University Vice-Chancellor
Professor Barnabas Nawangwe could not specify when the eviction would take
place. However, he emphasized that their actions were within the bounds of the
law as they were targeting businesses operating without any contracts with the university.
He stated, "We are evicting only illegal businesses that do
not have any contract with the University. The rest will remain and continue to
provide the necessary services."
Makerere University Guild President, Robert Maseruka asserted
that students directly benefit from these businesses and that evicting them
without providing solutions would be a disservice. Maseruka mentioned that they
had already sent a letter to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Henry Arinaitwe,
who oversees Finance and Administration, demanding alternatives for the
businesses at risk.
He emphasized that students, especially those living in halls of
residence near the canteens, heavily rely on these services. Evicting them
without suitable alternatives would put students, especially those with disabilities,
at a significant disadvantage.
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Maseruka also highlighted the challenges faced by their
colleagues who rely on these canteens for convenience but have not been
provided with alternatives, particularly those with disabilities. He stated,
"We have students with disabilities from different halls of residence, you
cannot tell me that for a girl to buy a pad when she is staying at the Complex
Hall, she has to first run to Kikumikikumi or Kikoni; that is impossible."