Social media has been awash with a video of a Makerere University lecturer, later identified as Bernard Wandera, slapping (eumphemized as assaulting) a student.
In the video, Wandera is seen ordering two female students out of his classroom; when they take long heeding to his order, he is forced to slap one of them, making the girls to immediately see the exit.
Netizens have castigated Wandera for this act, prompting Makerere University to pickup a public relations stunt to defend its image.
First, Makerere University apologized on behalf of its employee and promised to investigate the matter. A few hours after issuing the apology, Makerere University interdicted Bernard Wandera, banned him from his office and cut his salary by half till investigations into his case are done.
Netizens say ‘this is not Makerere University’, for the one they knew solved matters diplomatically and never subjected students to assault.
While everyone seems to be against Bernard Wandera, I want to lift my shield and guard him. Assaulting students at Makerere University makes no news, but we have spiced up Wandera’s case into a trending clickbait.
We need to make sense of the ancient adage of an apple falls not far away from the tree. If Wandera didn’t just learn this habit (assaulting), then something gave him courage that he could get away with it.
Luckily for Wandera it was just a slap, a simple assault, another would have done worse.
For those saying this act isn’t symbolic of Makerere University of the old, then acquaint yourselves with that of today and stop bugging us with your comparisons.
The past and current regimes of Makerere University’s vice chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe are characterized by assaults: written assaults, sexual assaults, simple assaults and aggravated assaults.
Prof. Nawangwe has mastered two of these aforementioned assaults; written and aggravated assault.
Nawangwe has throughout his regime used force to suppress students, Wandera might have learnt from him. Makerere University has issued out the highest number of warning and suspension letters during VC Nawangwe’s tenure.
On his orders, students have been assaulted by police and military during the different protests held during his time. If there’s anything Nawangwe has mastered quite well, it is the use of force to suppress students’ protests.
This year Nawangwe suspended guild presidential aspirants that had gathered peacefully to attend a political general assembly, killing their dream of ever becoming guild presidents at Makerere University. Shortly after that, he suspended a one Sulaiman Namwoza for organizing an online meeting, reinstating him days after.
VC Nawangwe has set a bad precedent, and the student assaulted by Wandera should count herself lucky, someone else would have done worse.