Opposition figure Warren Smith Kizza Besigye has given the government ten days effective today, to reopen Makerere University.
Addressing a press conference at his home in Kasangati early today, Dr. Besigye said his party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) would call for a ‘national protest’ if the campus is not reopened.
“As FDC we shall keep on reminding the government the remaining days and when they are all done without reopening of the university then we shall call for a nationwide protest,” Dr Besigye, who was flanked by Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and several other senior opposition figures, said.
Other notable opposition figures that attended the press conference included the FDC Minister for Presidency Wafula Oguttu, Minister for Gender Kevina Taka, MP Mubarak Munyagwa and councilors Doreen Nyanjura, Mohammed Ssegirinya and Michael Akampurira.
However, his threats come hardly two days when the Visitation committee put up by President Museveni briefed the media yesterday and revealed that they had appealed to Mr. Museveni to open the university as investigation continue.
Dr Besigye’s remarks follow the closure of Makerere University, ordered by President Yoweri Museveni two weeks ago. The three-month closure set to end in February has caused anxiety with several public officials including the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, education minister Janet Kataha Museveni and the State Minister for Higher Education Chrysostom Muyingo all weighing in on the hitherto contentious matter.
“Uganda is mainly populated by youth and children who constitute more than half of the population therefore education assumes a much greater importance,” Mr Besigye said, adding: “education, which is the foundation of development due to the skills and innovation that come along with it, is facing crisis.”
According to Dr. Besigye, Uganda has been bedeviled by persistent educational crises in all public universities over the past 30 years.
Taking a swipe at the education minister, Dr Besigye said the country was at crossroads to find a lasting problem to the education dilemma in the country.
“Perhaps the Minister of Education who is also the First Lady has an issue of concern since she is the wife of the President and one wonders who advises the other in case of need,” Dr Besigye said.
According to Dr Besigye, 15 children die every day at Kawempe Hospital due to the absence of intern doctors of Makerere University, who were also affected by the closure.
And, weighing in on the recently-composed Visitation Committee led by Dr Abel Rwendeire, Dr Besigye said it was inconsequential as all the issues afflicting the operations Makerere University had been detailed in a 224-page report compiled by a team led by Prof Francis Omaswa in February 2014.
Dr. Besigye, also said Uganda been bedeviled by corruption under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime and its leader President Museveni.
“The country is being subjected to unnecessary suffering as a result of a corrupt regime led by President Museveni,” Dr Besigye said.