Perhaps one of the biggest and longest halls of residence at Makerere University, Mary Stuart Hall (a girls’ residence) rests on the lower side of the Ivory Tower below St. Francis Chapel and next to their darling counterparts, Lumumba Hall.
With about ten stories, students at the top floors endure a pile of staircases to reach their places of abode. Surprisingly, the hall has a provision for a lift that has not been functioning for as long as 40 years – with no known plan to make it work. Have you ever wondered why?
In our series of MakAt100 stories, we discuss the reason Mary Stuart doesn’t have a functioning lift. Journalist and Communications Specialist at Makerere Davidson Ndyabahika has today revealed the reason why the Ivory Tower’s biggest girls’ residence doesn’t have a function lift even when deservedly, it should have it.
“Sometime in 1970s, the lift in the tower malfunctioned and got stuck at the bottom of the shaft. and the door locking mechanism on some floors also failed.” Ndyabahika intimated.
However, accordingly, there was no announcement or alarm that the lifts were malfunctioning much as some doors could not lock and were left open for anyone that could access them.
As a result, a female student living on one of the top floors in the tower, who was unaware that the lift was not working, opened the door to get into the lift and plummeted to her death in the pitch black of the shaft. After this incident, the lift was permanently closed.
There have been calls for the renovation of Mary Stuart Hall by student leaders in the past with most of them calling for functioning lifts in the tower as well. The students argue that top floors are a hard area to access due to the numerous stairs and call for administrative intervention in the matter to ensure functioning lifts and easy access.