Fire Razes Makerere University’s Finance Department, Registry

An early morning fire on Sunday guts some part of Uganda’s Makerere University’s main building.

The inferno, which began around 12:00 am and 1:00 am, at the right-wing of the iconic Ivory Tower was said to have spread to other parts of the university.

The building with its unique 20th-century British architectural designs is one of the university’s oldest structures, the signature symbol of Uganda’s oldest and biggest university.

It was completed in 1941 with funding from the Colonial Development Bourse.

The 79-year-old building is the face of the university that has appeared on postage stamps, postcards, advertising boards, academic journals and national currency over the years.

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It houses several offices including the university’s main hall, university printery and vice chancellor’s office. The building also holds student records, and the basement is full of archive files spanning the whole history of the institution.

At the moment, the damage caused by the fire remains unknown but a quick assessment of the building shows that the entire roof of the right-wing has collapsed.

Offices affected by the fire include the finance department, university secretary’s office, deputy vice-chancellor administration and finance, central registry where, audit offices, pension offices, salary offices and human resource.

The printery, the vice chancellor’s office, senior common room and the council room, however, remained untouched.

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A fireman said the entire finance department was razed, adding that the entire wing is expected to collapse.

No fatalities have been recorded so far.

Makerere vice-chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said on Twitter that the university’s management hopes to restore the building back to its historic state.

“It is a very dark morning for Makerere University. Our iconic main administration building caught fire and the destruction is unbelievable. But we are determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible,” he said.

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