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: July 08, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Makerere University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Uganda

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 8, 2022, students clashed violently at Makerere University in Kampala during guild (student government) campaigns. One student was killed.

On July 8, Makerere University students gathered at the university’s rugby field to conduct student government campaigns ahead of elections that had been scheduled for July 15. Reports indicate that there was a disagreement between supporters of the National Unity Platform and the Forum for Democratic Change parties. Violent clashes involving students and members of armed “brigades”–often hired for university political and social activities–ensued. In the chaos, Michael Betungura Bewatte, a law student at Uganda Christian University, was stabbed with a broken bottle. He was taken to the university hospital, where he died.

The election was suspended by the school after the incident. On July 15, the university issued an order banning all “brigades”.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a student protest. Students have a responsibility to carry out expressive activities peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of violent force during protests undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)