By Lawrence Kazooba
On Tuesday evening, Ugandan president hurriedly issued a directive to close Makerere University indefinitely.
The president said the move was in the interest of lives of people and their property. However, when there were serious protests at Makerere, the president never took the route of closing the institution. What was different this time round?
For the last two weeks, university lecturers have been demanding for their allowances of more than six months. The demands of lecturers in the process have denied students learning time, yet negotiations have not produced any fruit.
The Minister of Education Janet Museveni looks clueless with what to do, especially that her meetings with non teaching staff at the beginning of the semester, left the egg on her face.
It took Museveni himself to sort the mess, and for non teaching staff to return to work.
Students had joined the agitation, and were demanding that lecturers return to lecture halls. The president got wind of something nasty was about to happen.
The intelligence briefs the president acted on showed Kizza Besigye had infiltrated Makerere University and wanted a mass uprising at the university which would explode in the city centre, where it would be joined by prepared hooligans.
Museveni who was in Luweero popularizing local irrigation technologies for small holder farmers, was told he had few alternatives but to close the university since many people would be affected in the standoff, if police were to confront rioters.
The president was told that the protesters are hell bent on projecting his wife Janet as incompetent and unable to resolve issues affecting the education sector.
Museveni, who does not second guess when it comes to his family, would not take any of it. He signed off the closure of the university until bureaucrats sort out the mess, and his security will in the coming days once again tame Kizza Besigye, who is being accused of fermenting unrest in the Kampala and its surrounding.