South Sudanese students wage battle over Kampala University

South Sudanese students wage battle over Kampala University
A section of South Sudanese students pitching camp at Kampala University main campus over graduation drama. [Photo: Sheila Ponnie]

South Sudanese students who completed their studies at the Juba-based Kampala University branch have made good on their threats by suing the administration over their failed graduation.

They filed their lawsuit at a high court in Kampala. 

However, the officials at Kampala University’s main campus said they are unaware of their existence.

They said the students’ names did not appear on graduation booklets prepared for June 23, 2022 graduation.

The majority of the 350 students have now camped at the university’s campus in Kampala demanding answers.

Sarah Akuot, the spokesperson of the affected students, said her group wants the court to issue an injunction postponing the graduation until the final verdict is reached.

“The Vice-Chancellor, Mr Kateregga, has maintained that he will not graduate any of the students from the Juba branch, which he claimed he has closed. So, we took legal action,’’ Akuot said.

“We filed two cases in Uganda’s high court, the first about being denied graduation and the second about stopping the graduation without us.’’

Akuot added that the students decided to go to court not only to ensure they are allowed to graduate but also for the sake of all South Sudanese students who she said have been duped by Kampala University.

“Our interest is not only our papers but the rights of our fellow students in general,” she said.

South Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda, Duku Michael, and other embassy personnel, including Education Attaché, Lual Akol Nhial, met with the students after they filed their case at the embassy in Kampala.

The ambassador praised the students for being orderly and law-abiding and wished them success at the court hearing that was expected to be held yesterday.

 Akuot said the case was delayed when the presiding Judge did not turn up forcing them to meet the deputy judge

“This is what he told us, he said:  “I have received your case, and your case is a case of emergency,’’ and he had the chance to cancel the graduation from happening without us, but there was one problem that he faced.’’

“…he did not find a testimony of each of the students that shows that we have completed.”

Akuot said they tried to convince him that they should be allowed to graduate with the provisional results but failed to yield fruit.

South Sudan’s Kampala University was founded in 2015 and has been graduating students since then.

Students affected registered for Accounting, Logistics, Procurement, Business Administration, Public Health, and Political Science.

The students have vowed to remain on the main campus in Kampala until they graduate.