Makerere University Perimeter Collapses Amidst Accusations of Corruption & Shoddy Work

2417 Views Kampala, Uganda
Makerere University is reputed to be a center of excellence in East Africa. It has produced thousands of outstanding professionals in all fields of study from architecture to veterinary medicine and from music to zoology. So it came as a surprise when part of the million-shilling parameter wall constructed around the university campus collapsed over the weekend. Both students and staff of the university are dismayed that the new wall had basic structural weaknesses, which could have been detected by unschooled builders. Professor Gaddi Ngirane-Katashaya, the Deputy Dean of Makerere's Faculty of Technology, says the wall, which collapsed during a rainstorm on Saturday, was not felled by the force of the water or the winds, but because it was badly built. He says the perimeter wall did not have a foundation and the cement and sand mixtures used to build it were badly measured. //Cue in: iIf the wall fell #i Cue out: i# fall like that.i// Katashaya blames the University Estates Department for the poor job. He says the builders didn't use loop iron reinforcement pillars to strengthen the fence and it didn't have drainages to control the water logging. Katashaya wants the University Engineer, Edison Mapango to take responsibility for the mess, which has cost Makerere six billion shillings. He has written to all the Makerere University academic staff, accusing Mapango of extreme negligence and wants all the university engineers dismissed. Katashaya also wants Mapango arrested and ordered to refund the materials that were used in the shoddy construction. Meanwhile the lectures led by Dr. Felix Bareeba of the Faculty of Agriculture are demanding an explanation from the University Administration. Bareeba says the university was assured that the wall would last for several years and says it is a shame that such a shoddy job was done. //Cue in: iWe were assured #i Cue out: i# going down the drain.i// An email from Saul Hannington, a lecturer at the Engineering Department, which Uganda Radio Network has seen lists complaints from the lecturers concerning thefts of building materials meant for the perimeter wall. The lecturers want the section of the wall around the School of Fine Art and the Faculty of Law replaced immediately for security purposes. The University builders who constructed the wall have been suspended and a new team of builders has been sub-contracted to rebuild the fence. Some of the new builders, who asked not to be named, said university team had used more sand than cement on the wall. They said they have received strict instructions to repair the wall within a week.