RIOTOUS students of Kampala International University (KIU) on Friday caused mayhem in Kansanga suburb following a disagreement with the university management over surcharges on late clearance of tuition fees.
According to sources, the university management instituted a rule that students have to clear the tuition fees within a month after the semester has opened. Beyond this, every defaulting student pays a surcharge of $30 (sh68,000)after every two weeks.
The students, who oppose the measure, cut off traffic on the Kansanga-Ggaba Road as they pelted passing vehicles with stones, shattering their windscreens and piling garbage and stones on the road.
Anti-riot as well as Mobile Police personnel were dispatched to the scene led by the Regional Police Commander Kampala Extra, Grace Turyagumanawe and the commander of the Kabalagala Police Station, Moses Kafeero.
“There was a disagreement between the university management and the student community. Students are saying that the university should scrap the $30,” said Kafeero.
Police said that amongst the vehicles damaged was one belonging to a staff member of the university, who was taking an injured student to hospital. The student had been hurt during the melée.
The KIU management and representatives of the students on Friday night held in a meeting at the university main campus brokered by the Police to resolve the standoff.
At the end of the meeting, Kafeero said, “We came in and talked to both sides. They have created a select committee to study this and report after two weeks when it is out.”
All students at the university were ordered to vacate the premises as armed police personnel sealed off the main campus. However, students retreated to nearby hostels and began throwing stones at the policemen and passing vehicles.
The Police arrested eight students who were briefly held at Kabalagala Police Station. But Kafeero said that the students were cautioned against misbehaviour and released shortly after.
“Whereas they misbehaved and stoned Police, we have not detained them. Although they had a case, we have only cautioned and counselled them against misbehaving,” Kafeero added.
He said that police deployment would continue at the university campus to maintain security on the premises.
“We are still monitoring the situation and we will search all those entering the university premises. Lectures will go on normally but with supervision of the Police,” Kafeero said.
Efforts to talk to the vice chancellor, Prof. Mohammed Ndawula, for a comment were fruitless. His known mobile phone numbers were not available.