Abbas Luyombo, a third-year law student and a guild presidential hopeful says the continued stalemate of the guild elections is likely to have a significant drop in the numbers of students who participate in the electioneering process of choosing their leaders.
University students are piling pressure on the university council to resolve
the impasse relating to guild elections. Early this month, the Acting Vice
Chancellor, Professor Umar Kakumba issued a directive staying all electoral
activities pending a review of the contested electoral reforms.
triggered anxiety among students and aspiring leaders. Judith Nalukwago, a
fourth year bachelor of Dental Surgery Student and an aspiring Guild
Presidential candidate, says the decision has kept students in total darkness
adding that they are now hoping against hope to have the elections conducted.
“Personally, I believe the student’s guild is
not ending today. It’s not a must that the students’ guild electoral
regulations have to be made today, here and now. It would still be in the
interest of the Council to have the regulations when the student leadership is
fully constituted,” said Nalukwago.
Nalukwago for instance argues that the
suspension of the guild elections is likely to destabilize the academic
programming, including the period for tests and course works.
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Abbas Luyombo, a third-year law student and
guild presidential hopeful, says the stalemate of the guild elections is likely
to have a significant drop in the number of students who participate in the process
of choosing their leaders.
He argues that any further delay is likely to
make students to choose between books and politics, which he says will affect their
right to participate in electing their leaders. “For
management, they might think extension does not affect the academic activities
but it is disadvantageous in a way that it affects the students who are meant
to determine their leaders,” said Luyombo.
According to Luyombo, currently there is no
substantive student representation on the Council since the guild parliament
was dissolved in January this year.
At the dissolution of the guild Parliament, Ezra
Byakutangaza, the guild speaker automatically became the head of the care-taker
government and as such a representative of the students on the governing body,
the University Council.
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Harris Justus Akampurira, one of the Guild
Presidential Aspirant also contends that there is a leadership vacuum in student’s
leadership, saying such reforms require a substantive guild representation to
“There was in the first place no need whatsoever
to extend the elections at Makerere University, except for the need to control
the process itself because the laws that guide this process are clear,”
He adds that; “There is no reasonable excuse
apart from the wanton desire to control the electoral process that the
University and the Electoral Commission have.” Akampurira believes there are vested interests
in the Makerere University students’ polls and that there is a measured move by
management to ensure the elections don’t happen the way they have been
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Makerere University Council passed and approved
Makerere University Guild election regulations during its December 6, 2018 sitting.
They were then gazetted as ““Makerere University
Students Guild Constitution Elections Regulations No.1 of 2018” on January 11,
Key among the provisions is the ban on guild
rallies in halls of residence and restriction of guild campaigns to four
rallies. They also bars students from acts of hooliganism and use of obscene
language during the campaigns and require all aspiring guild presidential
candidates to pay non-refundable fee of Shillings 200,000, and Shs.100, 000 for
Guild Representative Council-GRC aspirants while those vying for offices under
Students Common Room (SCR) for halls of residence will pay Shillings 50,000
down from Shillings 60,000.
Students rejected the regulations out rightly,
saying they were not conclusively consulted, yet they were the key stakeholders
for which, the regulations were being made.
result, management deferred their implementation, and referred the matter to
Council for reconsideration. Council did not review them the regulations as
expected, which has led to the current stalemate.
who is the out-going students Guild Justice and Constitutional Affairs Guild Minister,
says whereas the regulations might be made with intention of sanitizing student
elections, there is a general feeling that students should have their input.
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Moses Kidega, the Secretary National Affairs of
the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA), says they have been following
closely the tensions growing among students as a result of absence of
In his February 19, 2020 letter addressed to
Lorna Magara, the chairperson Makerere Universality Council, Kidega asked
Council’s immediate intervention in guiding the students’ elections to avoid
On February 13, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the
University Vice Chancellor communicated to students that council would meet and
consider the students guild electoral reforms and provide proper guidance.