Business owners operating within the precincts of Makerere University have petitioned court challenging the decision by the institution’s council to evict them.
The traders under their umbrella body, Makerere Business Owners Association Limited, have sued the university arguing that council’s decision to evict them without a hearing is illegal and tainted with procedural impropriety.
Through their lawyers, the business operators are also seeking for a court order to quash the university council’s resolution on account of being irrational.
The business owners received a circular stating that the University council took a decision to terminate all business activities at the institution’s premises.
In a sworn statement, Julius Gumisiriza one of the complainants, states that the decision was based on the findings that numerous business activities that operate in its premises do not relate to the university’s core functions.
According to Gumisiriza, the university purports that some businesses operate in non-designated spaces, which is not true, and that it does not permit the institution to take a decision that affects their source of livelihood without a hearing.
“That the applicants’ association members have been smoothly operating at the respondent’s premises for over 30 years, who have confidently borrowed loans from several financial institutions to support their businesses, constructed permanent and semi-permanent structures, established advance financial payments and credit provision of services with students that are still running,” reads the statement.
Gumisiriza contends that due to the lapse of time, the association members’ entire livelihood is hinged on their business at the university’s premises and have been made to believe that there is business continuity therefore terminating their tenancy arrangement without being heard and given sufficient time to prepare for their exit is illegal and irrational.
In a letter June 30 letter to the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Yusuf Kiranda, the University secretary communicated the council’s decision directing the management to review the business operations at the university and revert to the council for further necessary action.
According to the letter, the university council resolved to terminate all business activities at the University effective July 1, except for the companies contracted by the university to provide catering services to students with in selected kitchens in the halls of residence and the souvenir shop under the Makerere University endowment fund.