UPDF Firm to Renovate Lumumba Hall

The renovation of Makerere University’s Lumumba Hall is set to take off as the University hands over the dilapidated structures to a UPDF firm.

Block A of the hall has been out of use for about 17 years. Blocks B and C were closed in September 2022 following concerns about their poor state.

The University’s Vice Chancellor, Barnabas Nawangwe on Tuesday handed over the dilapidated Lumumba Hall to National Enterprise Corporation-NEC Construction Company for renovation.

NEC Construction Company belongs to the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) a commercial arm of the Ministry of Defence and Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.

While the Company has been involved in the construction of the perimeter wall around Makerere University it is not clear whether it bid to win the 9 billion shillings’ renovation deal.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nawangwe told journalists that the construction firm is expected to complete the renovation with in twelve months at the cost of nine billion shillings.

Asked why NEC Construction Company other than any other construction company was given the deal, Nawangwe explained that University was satisfied with what the company has done towards the construction of the perimeter wall.

The contractors are expected to undertake a comprehensive overhaul of the hall, encompassing architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing aspects, as well as various finishing touches.

Engineer, Brian Buhanda, the General Manager of NEC, affirmed that the renovation work would commence immediately and they aim to restore Lumumba Hall using modern materials that were not available at the time of its original construction.

There had been confusion about the names of the firm and whether it was different from NEC Construction Works and Engineering Ltd. Buhanda clarified as he indicated that their goal is to complete the renovation within a 12-month time frame.

Lumumba Hall was opened in 1971 and Professor Nawangwe revealed that it was a donation from the American government as a gift to Uganda for her independence and it is one of the nine halls of residence that Makerere has – of which six are for males and the remaining three are for females.

Nawangwe told URN that being a donation from the US government, it was given a unique design featuring external corridors which are different from other halls of residences.

That, he said made it harder to maintain it because it was highly affected by rain.

Professor Nawangwe, who had previously appealed to the government for over 100 billion shillings to renovate all halls of residence, emphasized that Lumumba Hall was prioritized due to its dilapidated condition.

He also reiterated that renovation efforts would extend to all other halls once the government disburses the required funds.

Makerere University Guild President, Robert Maseruka told URN that the renovation of the hall comes as a rescue to many students who have been struggling with expensive hostels outside the University.

” We as The 89th Guild leadership even at the onset had the cry of the Lumumbists. A hall of residence that protected and fought for the students was closed, the source of students’ power. We understand how affected students have been since its closure some of them found refuge in Kikoni and Kikumi kikumi but others who could not cope with the costs left and dropped out of campus,” said Maseruka.

For many years, several concerns have been raised about the state of halls of residence at the university.

In 2019, MPs on the education committee during their visit to the university as part of the probe over the impasse at Makerere that saw two weeks-long student protest against the 15 percent cumulative tuition increment, were shocked over the poor state of the students’ halls of residence on campus.

The MPs noted that the students’ halls of residence are dilapidated and recommended a complete renovation.

Other halls of residence at Makerere include Complex, Mary Stuart, Mitchell, Nsibirwa, Nkrumah, Livingstone, and Africa Hall.

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