Makerere University vice chancellor has ordered more than 700 students residing in Lumumba Hall to relocate to other halls of residence to pave the way for renovation.
In a September 12 letter addressed to the Dean of Students, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said the decision was reached during a meeting with the University Central Management Committee on September 12.
The university officials agreed to have dilapidated halls of residence renovated starting with Lumumba Hall.
“The purpose of this letter is to communicate to you the management’s decision and guide as follows; Lumumba hall should be closed with immediate effect to pave the way for renovation. Government-sponsored continuing students currently accommodated in Lumumba Hall should be relocated to the other halls of residence,” the letter reads in part.
“By copy of this letter, the chief security officer is requested to secure vacant possession of Lumumba Hall to pave way for smooth handover of the premises to the contractor,’’ he added.
When this publication contacted Prof Nawangwe yesterday, he referred this reporter to his deputy in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof Henry Arinaitwe, who did not answer our repeated phone calls by press time.
The biggest question raised by affected students though is whether they will find space in other halls of residence.
Ms Shamim Nambasa, the outgoing guild president, said the university’s initiative is good.
“We do acknowledge that the halls of residence are in a devastating state and need urgent renovation. However, the relocation of all those students will have gruesome effects. The vice chancellor’s letter only talks about catering for students on government sponsorship, yet we also have students on private sponsorship residing in the same hall. Where should they go.?” she asked.
Ms Nambasa further said Lumumba Hall has three blocks, namely A, B and C and that Block C has been closed since 2006 in the name of renovation.
She advised the university to start with block C and have students rotate through different blocks during the work.
The university has nine halls of residence at the main campus; of which six are for males and the remaining three are for females.
The six male halls of residence include Lumumba, Mitchell, Livingstone, Nsibirwa, Nkrumah, and University halls.
Lumumba Hall accommodates the biggest number of students. It houses about 752 students, with 241 double rooms and two open blocks.
Other halls such as Mitchell accommodate about 500 students, Nkrumah (500), Nsibirwa (475), University (450), and Livingston (500) students, according to university authorities.
According to a January 11 letter authored by President Museveni and addressed to the Finance ministry, halls of residence in all public universities must be renovated.
Lumumba and Mary Stuart halls are estimated to cost the government a whooping Shs16b in renovations.
Last month, the vice chancellor, in an interview with this newspaper, revealed that his institution was looking for Shs100b to renovate all halls of residence both on the main campus and those in Mulago and Kabanyoro Agricultural Research Institute in Gayaza. The university is opening its doors for another academic year on October 1.