Kabojja Hostel which is found in Banda, a Kampala Suburb.(PHOTO BY RONARD SHABOMWE)

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |   Hostel Owners around Kyambogo University have opposed the University demand of carrying forward hostel fees of Semester two to cater for the remaining period on re-opening this week.

According to Elli Katunguka the Vice Chancellor Kyambogo University, the management negotiated with some hostel owners and agreed that the hostel fees which the students had paid for semester two will be carried forward to cater for this period to enable the students complete their studies.

The vice chancellor reveals that the majority of their students reside in private hostels and rentals in the communities surrounding the University. 

Uganda Radio Network-URN visited a number of hostels and the owners say the University should know that when students are in hostels, they use a variety of services which include water and electricity, hostel shuttles and the hostel has to pay the services providers.

They argue that when students were sent home, they were almost done with the semester and they left their property in the hostel which has been the responsibility of the hostel to keep them safe. Therefore, they are not owed anything by the hostels.

The University has also issued  measures that must be followed to ensure that the students are safe from COVID-19, which the hostel owners argue are hard to implement when there is no money taken from students.

The measures include reduction in numbers of occupants (students) per room to observe social distance. This implies that a room which was previously occupied by two students will now accommodate one student. They also have to fumigate and disinfect the hostel premises and all students’ property before entering the hostels, restrict entry to only hostel members and keep a record of all persons accessing the hostels to ease contact tracing.

Others are to ensure that there is someone at the entrance of the hostel to check the temperature of everyone accessing the hostel premises, installing hand washing facilities including hand sanitizers at the entrance and around the hostel premises, among others. 

Hellen Nakanja the owner of Maria Hostel in Banda says that as hostel owners, they have bills to pay and if the university requires them to have all the measures in place, how will they handle.

She adds that she will sit with her students and agree on what they will do for the benefit of all of them and the less she can charge them is shillings 200,000 each for the remaining period.

Moses Kigundu the caretaker of Kabojja hostel explains that the students use a hostel shuttle which moves over 12 times a day and in a month, he spends over shillings 1.2m on fuel only. To Kigundu, they have already notified their students to come with shillings 300,000, which he says will help catering for their services.

This is not different from the arguments from the owners of hostels like TAL, Cariton, LIAM, Servite and ENIAD, all found in Banda. 

However, all these differ from what Good Shepherd hostel caretaker, Denis Asiimwe tells URN, that they all their finalists will be catered for at no other cost when they report since they had already paid their dues.

Some students who are already in Banda like Jimmy Odongo and Aggrey Atwiine say that the university has enough spaces in their halls of residence, so if they care for their students, they should accommodate the finalists rather than “stressing hostel owners”.

Kyambogo University is reopening for final year students on Saturday 17th and the teaching will start Monday 19th for a period of four weeks.