FOUL PLAY? Iconic Makerere Main Building goes up in smoke as Prof Nawangwe reveals ‘all the records on the side the fire started, have all been lost’
The iconic Makerere University Main Building last night went up in smoke destroying vital information in the finance and audit section.
According to the university fire spread and covered all floors of the right side of the Building and they summed it up: “This is hard for us to watch!”
The Main Building was completed in 1941 under the leadership of Mr. George C. Turner, Principal, Makerere College (1939-46). Earlier in 1938, the Duke of Gloucester, representing His Majesty King George VI had cut the first sod for the construction of the building on 3rd Nov.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor described the fire as ‘a very dark morning’ as fire brigade battled to bring down the fire which covered almost half of the roof.
Nawangwe took to his Twitter page to post: “It is a very dark morning for Makerere University. Our iconic Main Administration Building caught fire and the destruction is unbelievable.”
The Makerere chief however, vowed to restore the iconic building back to life. He said: “But we are determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible.”
The Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University also pointed out that all the records on the side the fire started, have all been lost.
Nawangwe told media that the fire started from the roof and linked it to ‘an electrical problem’.
The university confirmed police Fire Brigade worked tirelessly to put out the fire which had covered almost half of the roof.
They described: “The fire is heavy and sprouting from the right side of the Building. The fire flames are heavy coming through right side of the roof which has sunk in. We all need to pray for the Ivory Tower.”
Social media is awash with several theories linking to the Makerere Main Building fire and calls for investigations are rife.
First son Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba is among key figures calling for investigations as he picks out room of foul play.
Lt. Gen. Muhoozi used his Twitter account @mkainerugaba to demand: “This is a tragedy and it’s unacceptable. I hope the relevant authorities quickly establish whether this was an accident or foul play. I am confident we can rebuild our building soon.”
Makerere University is not new to administrative and money controversies and scandals.
Shs8Bn NIC scandal
They could account for the 8 billions an they decided to set the ivory tower offices on fire. The freshest of them being the National Insurance Corporation NIC saga which has Shs8 Billion attached to it.
In July this years, a section of Members of Parliament led by Mwine Mpaka, Western YouthMP, demanded an investigation into a deal gone wrong that saw Makerere University allegedly lose up to eight billion Shillings (Shs8 Billion.)
MPs in a news conference held at Parliament then said Professor Nawangwe, Vice-Chancellor and other University officials had led to a loss of Shs 8 billion by signing an out of court settlement with National Insurance Company (NIC) without the approval of the attorney general.
The legislators noted that before the university decided to set up its internal fund, NIC was the custodian of the Makerere staff provident fund. And that the decision to set up an Internal fund was reached at by the University following a series of disagreement with NIC.
They revealed that on 11th July 2020, the NIC handed over the Title and documents of ownership of a five-storey building on Plot 2A Kampala Road to Makerere University. In addition, they said the property was handed over by the Chairman, Board of Directors, NIC Holdings Limited, Dr Martin Aliker to the Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Lorna Magara.
Mpaka further revealed that he had three documents showing How Nawangwe tasked the then university secretary Charles Barugahare to sign on the consent judgment without further delay between Makerere University and NIC before the end of the year.
The MPs called for the establishment of a select committee of Parliament to investigate how Makerere university and NIC resolved the Shs16.7 billion lecturers’ top-up allowance saga yet the government had borrowed the said monies from the consolidated fund to cool down the impasse.
70th graduation gowns scandal
Makerere University reignited the controversies surrounding the appointment of the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration (DVC, F&A).
According to correspondences published by Mulengera News in June, Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe under pressure from Council, the institution’s supreme governing body currently chaired by Lorna Magara, asked him to clean the university’s image regarding the scandal that the VC himself admits injured Makerere’s institution and caught the attention of “various stakeholders who require the University to provide explanations.”
The online media quoted Prof. Nawangwe: “In January 2020, Makerere University went through an embarrassing scandal, when the supplier contracted to supply gowns for the 70th graduation ceremony failed to deliver the gowns in time for the important ceremony. This incident seriously damaged the University’s image and reputation,” who wrote to University Secretary Charles Barugahare on May 22 in a letter titled ‘ANOMALIES IN THE CONTRACT FOR THE SUPPLY OF THE 70TH GRADUATION CEREMONY ROBES.
In the letter, Nawangwe openly states that the Accounting Officer: “did not properly supervise the process of procurement leading to several anomalies during the bidding process, award and management of the contract” and “did not seek the Solicitor General’s approval of the draft contract document in contravention of Regulation 1 (1) of the PPDA (Contracts) Regulations, 2014 and Statutory Instrument No. 97 of 2014.”
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.