The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University (Mak) Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe told the First Lady and the Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni that some of the documents in the section of the university main building that were destroyed by the early morning fire had been digitized.
According to the vice-chancellor, the fire, which has damaged most of the building’s roofing and ripped through the lower part, started in the roof above the Public Relations Office at the right-wing of the Building.
The 79-year-old building houses key university offices, including that of the vice-chancellor and crucial records (finance and student information) of the 98-year-old institution.
In a Sunday tweet, the university said some of the documents had been digitized. “Most human resource documents were digitized,” the university tweeted, citing the vice chancellor’s message to the First Lady.
It remains unclear what led to the early Sunday morning fire. Police announced it had commenced investigations into the matter.
“Police are actively investigating a fire outbreak at Makerere University Main Building that started today at about midnight. Fire and rescue services responded at the scene and managed to contain it’s spread,” Luke Owoyesigyire, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman, said in a statement.
“The fire is believed to have started from the roof spreading to floors that house both records and finance departments, a lot of property has been destroyed. Investigations are ongoing to ascertain the exact cause of the fire.”
According to Mak website, the building was completed in 1941 but construction began in 1938.
The Main Building with its unique 20th-century British architecture is easily Makerere’s most recognizable symbol and was constructed with funds from the Colonial Development bourse.
Prof. Nawangwe says the university is “determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible.”