Fire guts Uganda’s top university, destroys main administration building block


An early morning major fire gutted Makerere University, Uganda’s top university on Sunday, destroying the main administration building block, a police spokesperson said.

Luke Owoyesigire, Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, said in a statement that the police are actively investigating a fire at the country’s largest and oldest institution in the capital Kampala, which started at around midnight, burning property and documents.

“The fire is believed to have started from the roof spreading to floors that house both records and finance departments; a lot of property has been destroyed,” said Owoyesigire.

“Fire and rescue services responded at the scene and managed to contain its spread. Investigations are ongoing to ascertain the exact cause of the fire,” he said.

Vice chancellor of the university Barnabas Nawangwe tweeted that the damage caused by the fire is “unbelievable.”

“It is a very dark morning for Makerere University,” said Nawangwe.

“But we are determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible,” he said.

First established as a technical school in 1922, Makerere University is known as one of the most prestigious English universities in the country. It became an independent national university in 1970.

The university, closed in March, has been preparing to reopen to enable final-year medical students to complete their studies to help address the human resource gaps amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the east African country.

President Yoweri Museveni early this month directed the national taskforce charged with spearheading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to review the possibility of a phased reopening of schools, colleges and universities after they were closed in March, starting with candidate classes and clinical medical students.

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