Following the daily narration by Mr. Nsumba Muhamudu, a lecturer at Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU), The Lens Media continues with student life at the University in 1988.
The first students strike
“As the university came to life, bickering started amongst stake holders at the University. The Rector Prof Huq who had spent a good number of his adult life in America, had an American style of leadership, different from other administrators. He soon picked a misunderstanding with a young administrator who was a workaholic. This was none other than the young Doctor, the university secretary. I can’t recall the exact cause of their misunderstanding but it ended with the Rector dismissing/ suspending the university secretary.
Soon news of the US sacking circulated around campus and the student leadership decided to side with the university secretary. Myself wasn’t involved in the initial plans but around 10 pm I was approached by Prof Bogere who led me to other students’ leaders and they told me they have decided we boycott lectures the following day. I was tasked with informing students including convincing whoever I could. In the morning, lecturers reported for lectures but all students were stay put in their halls of residence.
The student leadership informed the lecturers of the developments and I understand the student leadership sent a telex or telegram to the university Council chairman in Kuwait, the late Yusuf Jassim Al Hijji ( may Allah forgive him his short and admit him to firdaus), who promptly overturned the Rector’s decision and that’s how the strike ended. The post of university secretary by that time was very powerful and influential unlike the present times and the Rectorship by that time wasn’t as it is today in terms of powers and authority.
The Early Student Community(The Unsung Heroes)
Being the only other university besides the highly prestigious Makerere, life wasn’t easy for the student community. We came across people who referred to us as rejectees of Makerere. People hadn’t realized by then that being qualified to university admission was very different from attaining admission in Makerere. The competition was very stiff and by that time people depended entirely on merit in exams and selection to Makerere. We had to endure the ridicule in the community and we remained focused. This gave us extra courage to prove our doubters wrong as was evidenced by the first batch of students who finished their degree and had to undergo an interview by the education service commission.
The commission members were impressed and the students largely succeeded where they went and many have since turned into successful teachers , administrators and proprietors of education institutions across the country and the East African region.
It should be noted that we joined the university before it got it’s charter and what later came to be a parliamentary Act. After a year or so, it dawned on us that some members of the national legislative body, the National Resistance Counci (NRC) were not willing to grant the university the required official status to operate.
I remember one evening having read an article in the mainstream media where it had become a real battle to make it through in the NRC. As the one in charge of reporting the off campus news to the university community via the University mirror, students realized we were in big trouble. We had difficulty convincing ourselves to stay on course
Some students had ideas of stopping there but we stood firm.
Unlike the teaching staff and administrators who were already qualified, for us we had no where to turn to if the official permission for operating wasn’t granted. For the employees, some of them had left the university to further their interests but for us we regarded the university our own. I would like to thank our lecturers and administrators who never withered. These, together with the students are the real heroes of the university because had we got carried away, we don’t know what we would have become of IUIU.
On my part I told whoever who gave me ears that at least we will get the knowledge which no one will take away from us. It was a trying moment but eventually I heard that Ssabalwanyi prevailed over the NRC and the university got recognised through a parliamentary Act…,”Nsumba Muhamudu narrates.