QATAHAR INVESTIGATES: KYAMBOGO DOWNFALL: FROM BREAD STRIKE TO COLLAPSE

On 23rd March, a news tip trickled through my phone line of an eminent strike by Kyambogo students. Though full reasons were not given for this, I quickly rushed to the university to find out the cause and a possible way out of the crisis by the university administration.

It, at first commenced as a bread strike by government students requesting for an increase in their rations but that was not all there was to it. I was later to discover, the strike stemmed from a flood of unresolved complaints tossed from students, lecturers, well wishers and administration.

A carpet road with a barely the common potholes in the city would make you assume everything about Kyambogo is right as you head to the university but however the rot in the university stinks right from the moment you set foot within the university premises.

the clock welcoming you to kyambogo university.

From the littered compounds to gazing idle students, incomplete buildings and a swarm of pestered walls of guild race candidates, there certainly is a story that lies uncovered in the simple kyambogo bread strikes, lecturer woes and unpainted buildings.

Deep at the core of all conflict is an unresolved mystery of piled up education generals reduced to cadres after the merger of three successful institutions of their times.

such are the kind of doors holding intact the crumbling biology department

In a far much dilapidated state is the biology department one of the few sites i was allowed  to visit and stealthily made away with a string of camera photo shots. As welcoming sites to the real campus after the senate building are sights of burnt down cars 2 months ago in a students strike, i was to later find out that the university was yet to dispose them off as the money meant for their disposal was lost in unclear circumstances from a source in the administration of the university.

these cars were burnt by an unknown student as students protested over a short notice pin-up requesting them to clear their tution fees!

in the same parking yard are cars of the vice chancellor and high ranking officials of the university. The only water backup truck is also among the gallery of old web-sewn cars yearning for a facelift by the university administration.

the only water backup truck for the frequent water shortages faced by the university.

despite the attractive photos that scroll on the website of the university at http://www.kyu.ac.ug , a flurry of notice boards in desperate state hang as the kyambogo university’s only form of communication from the administration of kyambogo university.

these are some of the noticeboards that date way back to 2003 as their inception date. no form of re-fixing has been undertaken so far.

Originally formed as a merger of institutions, Kyambogo university is scaling the lows of downfall with increased recruitment of students and yet little room is available for their accommodation.

Lectures have been transferred to as shocking as the dining hall! as the available rooms can scarcely hold the rising numbers of students recruited. The buildings left standing in the university leave alot to be desired from their outlook to a string of re-constructions yet to be made.

the ITEK building harbors dirt marks and vegetation springing up from the old patched roof.
the sign post leading to the vocational studies faculty a pioneer in the merger of the university.
you can hardly read the others too!

however even behind  the buildings are silent whispers of a university crying out for a breather to save it from extinction.

Mr Lawrence Madete the university PRO believes the university is still on course to delivering responsible educated citizens for the nation though “little mishaps” continue to haunt them.

I set out once again on a mission of unearthing the “little mishaps” Mr Madete was talking about to figure out how they could potentially lead to the university’s destruction and maybe avert any further crisis.

I was to later on meet Mr Phenny Birungi an official in the National Council for Higher Education which is the regulating body of universities but also a backyard neighbor to the dying university.

Mr Phenny’s discussion with me yielded possible benefits to resolving the crises affecting public universities in he country in a package called “chartering”

Chartering a university is to accord the university an international standard after it has successfully undergone a stringent verification process.

This might have sounded a good idea but I was later to learn, it was a mere proposal before the ministry of education and that it had to undergo a ministry nod, parliamentary discussion, approval and a presidents signature before it could be passed.

knowing well the Ugandan mode of operation, i knew this was a briefcase project that may never get to see light but faint hopes still lay within me of a potential solution.

In the meantime, Kyambogo university was back at it again with lecturers demanding a further 300% salary increment else they proceed with a sit down strike. A contingent of bodies joined in to demand with the lecturers, inclusive of National Union of educational institutions and the students’ guild.

The troubles were never resolved even with an intervention of the office of the IGG which seemed to point to one of the founder members and machine behind the merger that went wrong prof. Lutalo Bbosa.

Prof. lutalo Bbosa a lanky old academic, former principle of ITEK and a one-time kyambogo vice-chancellor before being thrown out of office seems not to agree with the current trend of events during an earlier interview with him at his UNEB office before he left.

“The university never fully merged, many forces were thrown out yet they wielded power in their respective schools” this was the statement i got from him after a long interview with the scholar.

Truth be told, alot of forces with power machined their ways in the previous institutions which the new parliamentary act could not accommodate in the new setting of the university.

As a motive to enhance their prowess (former merged college principles), extra measures like illegal appointments for the professors went ahead. Prof. Lutalo Bbosa suprisingly also chaired a meeting that was to deliberate on his vice-chancellorship, a position he had not applied for but somehow had his name on he list and went on to become vice-chancellor from then.

Even after backing out from the meetings, the committe of five had three of it’s members earlier seconded to those positions by prof. lutalo Bbosa.

This doesn’t necessarily point to him as the problem, though skirmishes of blemish may rub off him, alot of factors are at play in the continued descent of the university nine years down it’s inception date.

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