Makerere Closure Paralyses Business

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In short
Dickson Lukwago alias Musomesa operates a canteen in complex hall. Lukwago told URN on Thursday at his small canteen that the abrupt closure of the university has caused him huge losses.

The closure of Makerere University has paralysed business in the surrounding communities. President, Yoweri Museveni ordered the indefinite closure of Makerere University on November 1, 2016 following a stalemate between the university council, administration and striking lecturers over their unpaid salary incentives.
As a result, the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura deployed heavily at the university and ordered all people to vacate. Police even ordered the management of private hostels to close them for security purposes. The closure of the university has taken a huge toll on the business community within and outside the institution.
On Friday, our reporter visited the university and found some of the business people who have been operating in the canteens withdrawing perishable merchandise such as milk, juice and other food stuffs.  All the secretarial bureaus, saloons and restaurants were under lock and key rendering several people jobless.
Dickson Lukwago alias Musomesa operates a canteen in complex hall. Lukwago told URN on Thursday at his small canteen that the abrupt closure of the university has caused him huge losses.  
"You know our clients are these students. But since they are not around, there is no business.  I just opened for that sake because I have some perishable things that I had stocked like samosas, juice, chapatti and cakes. I only deal in edibles for both students and staff," said Lukwago. 
Chris Ggoloba has been providing manicure and pedicure services in the halls around the university. Our reporter found Ggoloba stranded with a basketful of nail polish seated on the verandah of Mary Stuart hall with his back on the wall pondering his next move.  
"I came here in February that was when KCCA had chased me from town. I do pedicure and manicure. I treat ladies nails and my base is usually these female halls. Sometimes a student calls you to cut her nails and we have reliable customers around. But I am unhappy because of the university closing," he said. 
Despite the closure of the university, some private businesses like banks within the campus have remained operational though seemingly idle.  URN saw the guards at Post Bank Makerere University sleeping because of boredom.
Our reporter found Edward Katerega, the manager Black Horse Laundry in the basement of Mary Stuart hall making final touches on their clients' clothes.  He says power was switched off following the closure of the University, rendering them idle.
 "We are hearing rumors that the university opens in two months' time. But there are already losses were incurring.  You have seen all other businesses like photocopying and saloons all closed. Even customers who want to bring us business can't come when they hear that the University is closed," said Katerega.
Unlike on Wednesday where there was heavy police and military deployment, on Friday only plain clothed security operatives have been left to monitor the situation at the university.  Currently, all the gates leading to the university have been closed except the main gate which faces Ham Towers.

James Kibalama, a boda boda cyclist at Makerere University Western Gate, told URN on Friday afternoon that he hadn't save any money due to the absence of customers. "I have only worked for food. This is my stage. When students are not there, we also have no work. I think they should pay the lecturers.  Closing the university is has not only affected those inside.


About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba