SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: June 24, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Loss of Position

Institution(s):Makerere University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Uganda

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 24, 2022, police arrested three Makerere University students who were on their way to a student assembly on campus, where they were slated to speak. Makerere University later suspended the three students.

On June 24, students assembled in the campus’s Freedom Square to hear from students seeking to run for the university’s guild (student government) representing the National Unity Platform. The students, Calvin Mwesigwa Mugambwa, Edwin Price Bbosa, and Kenneth Katushabe, were on their way to the square when police arrested them. They were later released. On June 27, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe issued a letter ordering the students’ suspension in connection with their alleged roles in the assembly.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest and suspension of students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uganda is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting expressive activity, so long as it is nonviolent and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions intended to restrict nonviolent expressive activity on campus undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.