A Makerere University student who invented ‘sweetened tear gas’ has been granted 10-year patent-rights for his innovation by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
Sam Mugarura said he was elated by the news of his tear gas patent, made out of ‘domestic ingredients’ like sugar, salt and food colour.
“It is true; I feel great. When a patent is approved you are given a report which certifies that the formula (used) is feasible,” Mr. Mugarura, a 23-year old third year Bachelor of Sciences student majoring in Chemistry, said of his product, the Syn Propensiol S-Oxide Urushoil Capscum.
Mr Mugarura first came to public light late last year, when he ‘detonated’ the device that he then called an ‘IED’, and also promised to make a ‘smoke bomb’ and also to make Uganda a ‘nuclear country’.
Threatened with arrest
At the time, following the detonation, Mr Mugarura was threatened with arrest by police, with then spokesperson (now deceased) Assistant Inspector General of Police AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi (RIP), and Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima, seeming to suggest that the student’s innovations could attract criminal sanction.
And, like the proverbial prophet being denied in his country, other resource persons at the university including his lecturers also denied any relationship with the youthful innovator’s ideas, with Prof Muhammad Ntale, a former head of the Chemistry Department at Makerere University quoted by the media as saying that ‘Mugarura could be out for cheap popularity’ or ‘doing such things on his own’.
However, Mr. Mugarura was to get reprieve when his innovation caught the attention of Internal Affairs Minister General Jeje Odongo, who directed that the student be assisted to see through his idea.