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By Mulengera Reporter


Mastercard Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Reeta Roy has penned a letter expressing his sympathy with Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe’s over the Sunday morning fire that gutted the Main Building, destroying several administrative offices and burning key documents. Dr Roy also announced Mastercard’s $1m (about Shs3.7bn) contribution towards the restoration of the building that hitherto housed the Council Room, Office of the Staff Tribunal, Makerere University Administration offices of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, Office of the University Secretary, Bursar’s Office, Directorate of Human Resources, Directorate of Internal Audit and Public Relations Office, the University Printery and the Archives.



Speaking hours after police put out the fire, Prof Nawangwe assured the university community the iconic structure, which had stood since the 1940s, would be rebuilt in the shortest possible time. But before the reconstruction starts, at least two things have to be done: investigations into the cause of the fire must be complete, and needed funds must be available. The former is key since it is the only way the numerous theories on the cause of the inferno will be addressed. At the weekend, President Yoweri Museveni blamed the fire on negligence; Prof Nawangwe claimed a short circuit in the Public Relations Office sparked off the inferno; while some conspiracy theorists claim top officials plotted the fire outbreak to “kill evidence” in several accountability probes into embezzlement of billions of funds. (See: WHISTLE BLOWER DISPUTES NAWANGWE NARRATIVE ON MAK FIRE).

For the money needed to rebuild the Ivory Tower, Prof Nawangwe says the University will soon embark on a massive fundraising drive, something that several alumni have welcomed. According to the VC, “Management will engage Government and other stakeholders on this very important task. We are grateful to our alumni and well-wishers from around the globe for their show of sympathy and for the desire to contribute to the restoration of the building.” And indeed some of the partners have started making contributions and pledges. Mastercard Foundation’s Shs3.7bn is a big boost for the reconstruction efforts – and the university hopes many more such contributions will continue to come.

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