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UPDF to build Makerere perimeter wall

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Date: 
Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) has undertaken construction works for a resilient perimeter fence around Makerere University premises.

This was announced by the Makerere University Convocation chairperson, Dr Tanga Odoi, during the just concluded 67th graduation ceremony, where the university alumni body launched a fundraising drive aimed at raising money to facilitate the construction of a wall around the university’s main campus.

“We have a main gate that does not make sense since there are many small gates. Makerere University Convocation took it upon itself to convince the council that it can work with management, government and the public to raise money and build a better wall,” Dr Tanga told Daily Monitor in an interview last week. 

“We intend to engage the UPDF engineering department through the protocols of military to help us with this issue. We will not engage any other person,” he added.

He further revealed that as long as sizeable amounts are collected, they would be able to start with the lower side which neighbours Wandegeya since most wrongdoers come from the business centre.
Citing some major undertakings executed by the army, Brig Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesperson, said they are ready. He also said the project serves as a sign of confidence in the Force which has handled many projects such as the renovation of the pavilion at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

“We are always on standby to construct any structure given to us,” Brig Karemire said in a telephone interview.

The earlier feasibility study into the perimeter wall construction had indicated Shs5b but Dr Odoi said the amount is not available in hard cash so they would start with whatever amount is collected. 
Launched by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and Prof Ezra Suruma, the University Chancellor, the wall project is aimed at ensuring security for Makerere University students and staff.

The construction will also entail renovation of the eastern and western gates of the university and above all the reconstruction and modification of the legendary Makerere University main gate. 
Mr Jackson Mucunguzi, the university’s head of security, said 90 per cent of the insecurity cases around the university is due to absence of the wall whose earlier attempts to construct collapsed in 2004.

The construction of the wall has been riddled with a lot of setbacks and lack of finances. In September 2014, President Museveni promised that he would build a perimeter wall around Makerere University campus to curb insecurity at the country’s oldest university.

“We shall take it up with the ministry of Education to build a perimeter fence around the university, though this may not be done this year since we have already budgeted. But next year (2015) we shall ensure the fence is constructed,” Mr Museveni said at the closing of the counter-terrorism and security awareness week at the university campus then.

Mr Museveni was responding to an appeal by the then guild president, Mr Ivan Bwowe, who had informed him that the institution was vulnerable to terror attacks because of unrestricted access to the campus which hosts more than 40,000 students.

The promise to build a wall around the university was top on agenda as Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, campaigned for the position of Vice Chancellor. But his term expires in August and no wall has been erected.

When contacted yesterday, Prof Ddumba said: “We have not budgeted for this wall. The President pledged to build it but Convocation is assisting us (University Management) to fundraise. We are happy with this initiative.”

Asked about the compensation made to the university due to KCCA road works that encroached on the wall near the main gate, Prof Ddumba said the compensation ofShs6 billion is being used to fix roads, drainage, streetlights and walkways within the University.

The issues at hand

Security. Launched by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and Prof Ezra Suruma, the University Chancellor, the wall project is aimed at ensuring security for Makerere University students and staff.

Improvement. The construction will also entail renovation of the Eastern and Western gates of the university and above all reconstruct and modify the legendary Makerere University Main Gate.