There is a sigh of relief at Makerere University following a decision by government-sponsored students to call off their planned strike, which was scheduled for today. This followed the long-awaited disbursement of allowances to some of the government-sponsored students. The students who reside outside the university are entitled to a living-out allowance of at least 760,000 Shillings per semester to cover accommodation and meals.
However, some students had only received 33 percent of their mandatory allowances for the semester. On May 5, 2023, during a confrontation between the University secretary, Yusuf Kiranda, and the protesting students gathered at the Senate Building, the official urged them to refrain from further protests, assuring them that their funds would be disbursed into their accounts by May 15, 2023. However, by the end of Monday, May 15, 2023, not a single student had received any portion of the promised funds, leading to mounting frustration.
The students perceived the University secretary’s promise as a false pretense aimed at temporarily appeasing their discontent. Consequently, the Guild President issued a letter on May 15, 2023, urging fellow students to join him in a peaceful march to the Main Building to demand their allowances.
“Gallant Makerereans, 12:00 am today marks the end of six working days presented to us by the University Management through the University Secretary. I, therefore, call upon all students of the University to join us as we match peacefully to the main building at exactly 9 am to demand allowances for all government students.” Reads part of his letter that had called students to demonstrate.
In an unexpected turn of events, the University secretary issued a communication on May 16, 2023, assuring the students that, despite the previous delays, the disbursement of funds would commence on the same day. “This failure to have the funds reach your accounts by 15th May was due to factors beyond Management’s control, which we did not anticipate when we confirmed the 15th May deadline. The good news, however, is that the funds reflected on the Subvention Account in Stanbic Bank by the close of business on Monday, 15th May 2023, implying that we can now undertake the last step in the payment process, which is the transfer to individual students’ bank accounts.” Reads part of the statement.
“Therefore, this morning, Tuesday, 16th May 2023, we are completing the payment process from the Subvention Account in Stanbic Bank to the beneficiary students’ respective bank accounts,” the statement added. As a result, students who held accounts with Stanbic Bank began receiving their allowances, with some sharing confirmation messages and screenshots within their respective WhatsApp groups.
Students who had already received their allowances urged their peers to be patient. Following the positive development, the Guild President called off the strike, expressing gratitude for the students’ patience and emphasizing solidarity among the student body. Meanwhile, at Lira University, four students have been suspended for their alleged active participation in and mobilization of other students during recent demonstrations regarding the allowances of government-sponsored students.