Makerere University’s main administration block has burned down destroying vital records kept since its inception as well as several offices including that of the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, among others.
According to information posted on the University’s twitter account, the fire started from the top floor of the right side of the building and spread to the entire building.
The scale of the tragedy is almost incomprehensible considering that the building held many vital records still in physical form that were according to some people not yet digitized for safe preservation.
Makerere is not only important for Uganda but also to the entire East Africa as it served as the University of East Africa bringing students from Kenya and Tanzania.
Historian and Archvist Darek Petersen has hinted some of the records could be lost as they not have been digitized when he said:
“@MakerereU is on fire. It is a huge tragedy.
What’s at stake? Besides the office of @ProfNawangwe, the building holds student records, & the basement is full of archive files spanning the whole history of the institution. I’d been intending to help organise & catalogue the collection; but the whole thing is now in flames.”
The University simply mourned that there was little to be done to stop the fire as the flames proved too powerful for an ill-equipped police fire brigade department.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe described the events as a dark moment but vowed to restore the building to it’s historic status soon as possible.