Students Left Stranded as Makerere University Evicts Affordable Service Providers
Makerere University left over 300 business owners in tears as it began evicting them without prior notice on Friday this week. The affected businesses, including restaurants, snack and beverage shops, and stationery stores providing printing and photocopying services, were not informed about the eviction exercise, according to Mr. Julius Gumisiriza, the chairperson of Makerere University Business Owners Association.
Mr. Gumisiriza expressed concern, stating, “I am wondering why they have done this because they have not put any alternatives for the students to get the services we have been offering them. There will be a very big vacuum.” The businesses, which employed many individuals, now face uncertainty, affecting both their livelihoods and those of their dependents.
Despite an earlier appeal in court, the university proceeded with the eviction before a final decision was reached. Chaos ensued as students demanded answers from the administration, questioning why their affordable service providers were evicted without providing alternatives.
Mariat Namiiro, the institution’s vice guild president, lamented the situation, saying, “It’s us to suffer now because these people have been providing affordable service to students. We wrote to the administration seeking answers, but in vain.”
Efforts to obtain comments from the Vice Chancellor and Prof Henry Arinaitwe, the deputy vice chancellor in charge of finance and administration, were unsuccessful.
The university’s eviction efforts began in July 2022, targeting illegal businesses operating in different halls of residence and colleges. Although a court issued an interim order in August of the same year, temporarily halting the eviction, the business owners lost the case, allowing the university to proceed with the planned eviction exercise in 2023.