Makerere University Defends Self in Guild Presidential Election Case

Makerere University through it's Acting Secretary Yusuf Kiranda who also has a similar defense to that of University Acting Dean of students Winifred Kabumbuli, now want the High Court to dismiss Nalukwago's application with costs saying it lacks merit.
07 May 2021 17:33
The applicant Judith Nalukwago together with her lawyer Henry Byansi at the High Court on Kampala.

Makerere University has defended it's self in a case filed against it by one of the their students Judith Nalukwago challenging the institution's directive to alter the Guild Presidential Election process.

Last month,  Nalukwago through her lawyers of Centre for Legal Aid petitioned the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala challenging the directive issued by the  Makerere University Acting Dean of students Winifred Kabumbuli.

The directive in contention was  dated April 27th 2021 and it required all students willing to participate in the on going guild president elections re-submit  their academic documents for a reverification exercise and  subsequently be nominated afresh.

According to the directive Kabumbuli also said eligibility to contest for all leadership positions shall be for only registered continuing students 2019/2020  inline with governing laws.

She also added that contestants must submit the whole results for academic year semester one and two and they must not be having any retakes.

However, Nalukwago was not happy with the said directive on grounds that by the time the University was closed in March 2020 because of Covid_19, the contestants had already been nominated and their documents already verified.

She also argued that when you use the previous semester's results for verification it means that you have already removed the students waiting for graduation from voting because some did not do last semester recess examinations.

As such, Nalukwago asked court to declare the said directive as illegal because she was most likely to suffer irreparable damages and other students who are also in the position like hers.

However, in their defense filed before the same court and received by the trial judge Emmanuel Baguma who is also the Deputy head of Civil Division of High Court ,Makerere University says the students were consulted before that directive was issued.

The evidence before court shows that Kabumbuli whose duty as the Chairperson of the caretaker government of the student guild and as a Dean of students, she  issued the said directive to ensure the election process is conducted in accordance with the regulations and policy of Makerere University.

According to Kabumbuli , during the process, she encountered a challenge to do with interpretation of the University election  guidelines.

Evidence indicates that Kabumbuli then wrote to the Guild Electoral Commission and the Directorate of Legal Affairs  seeking for a clarification of the guidelines in issue in the exercise of their  mandate and; it is this legal department that gave her the interpretation that she wrote to the students in her directive.

"That my said actions in doing so were not in any way intended to victimize or prejudice the applicant but to ensure that the entire student body complied with the requirement of the electoral process as is required by the first respondent  (Makerere) University Council." reads Kabumbuli's defense in part.

Makerere University, through its Acting Secretary Yusuf Kiranda who also has relatively similar defense like Kabumbuli's,  now want the High Court to dismiss Nalukwago's application with costs because it lacks merit.

Justice Baguma has now fixed May 12th 2021 to decide whether the directive was illegal or not.

This expected judgment comes at a time when Makerere University is at the moment conducting it's elections. 


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