Makerere Students Lose Case

THE Constitutional Court has described as unmerited, a petition by Seventh Day Adventist students of Makerere University, who claimed the institution infringed on their rights by making them do exams and attend lectures on the Sabbath (Saturday).

"The Makerere University policy complained of by the Seventh Day Adventist students was fair and its students including the petitioners voluntarily joined the University," court ruled.

Three students, who represented at least 150 other Seventh Day students at the campus, had requested for exemption, claiming that the policy and regulations scheduling lectures, tests and examinations on Saturday contravened their Constitutional rights and freedom to practice their faith.

Makerere University, which has over 30,000 students of different religious beliefs, was referred to by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ssebuwufu, as a secular institution.

Dismissing the petition, court ruled that the effect of the policy did not impede observance of religious principles and there was no threat or academic detriment to them as the petitioners claimed.

Justices Laetitia Mukasa-Kikonyogo, the Deputy Chief Justice, Alice Mpagi-Bahigenine, Joseph Patrick Berko, Amos Twinomujuni and Christine Kitumba unanimously dismissed the petition.

The Court of Appeal registrar, Joseph Murangira, delivered the judgement.

The court agreed with Dennis Wamala and Paul Ahimbisibwe, the Makerere University lawyers, that the petitioners had a choice to join other institutions other than Makerere, including Bugema Adventist University.