BY CHRISTOPHER KISEKKA & AL-MAHDI SSENKARWA
MASAKA. Authorities at Muteesa 1 Royal University (MRU) have indefinitely closed all campuses after rising tension following persistent strikes that have paralysed lectures at the Buganda Kingdom-owned institution of higher learning for two weeks.
The striking staff, both academic and support staff, accuse the university leadership of promoting divisions among staff members and failing to pay their salary arrears for about five months.
In an October 24 letter to staff and students, the university vice chancellor, Prof Arthur Sserwanga, announced that the university council had advised him to close the institution “until further notice”.
“Following the staff’s decision to lay down their tools, I have been directed by the university council to close the university effective October 24, 2017 until further notice,” he said in a letter.
Mr Trust Kirya, the university guild president told Daily Monitor that the decision to close the university was reached after a crisis council meeting yesterday.
Staff members laid down their tools on October 10, the day that had been set for the reopening of Masaka Campus. The university has suffered four strikes in less than a year and its closure has affected at least 2,424 students.
While presiding over the university’s 6th graduation ceremony recently, the university chancellor, Justice Julia Ssebutinde, threatened to resign if students continue to participate in strikes at the university, saying she will not accept to have her reputation tainted by irresponsible conduct, characterised by unjustified students’ strikes.
The university started operations in 2007. It has three campuses in Kakeeka-Mengo, Mubende and Masaka.