Politics

Inside Story: Rugged Road to Makerere 2014 Guild Polls

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We caught up with the Electoral Chairman, Micheal Byemero who also served in the previous Guild Cabinet as Chairman of Nkrumah Hall.


Nominations were opened on February 28, to all students who meet the academic requirements of being on normal progress.


Candidates are also required to be either second year students for a three year course, but not in the first or last year.


“Our major challenge has been dealing with rowdy fans,” said Micheal. This year, the University recorded the highest number of nominations yet in the history of the Guild.


A total of 14 candidates picked up nomination forms, but only 9 of them could meet the requirements to officially launch campaigns.


However, one candidate, Faisal Mayiga, withdrew from the race even after being successfully nominated leaving 8 candidates vying for this seat.


These include; Aber Lillian (FDC), Bwowe Ivan (Independent), Aseru Sarah (UYD), Nanyeeya Nicholas (Independent), Taabaro Julius (Independent), Musiime Philip (NRM), Komakech Sam (UPC) and Kintu Eddy (Independent).


Forgeries and disqualifications:


According to the Electoral Commission, some candidates were disqualified on grounds of academic incompetence, but others on grounds of forgery.


Boniface Mbabazi, was kicked out of the race on grounds of having forged academic papers by signing for the Principal.


After verification by the Academic Registrar’s Office, his results were found to be falsified.


This did not go well with a section of NRM supporters of the Makerere Chapter who called him a disgrace to the party, and nearly beat him up had it not been for the intervention of police.


Another candidate, Andrew Mujinya, had his candidature rejected because of failure in one paper.


A second year computer student and former Guild Representative of the School of computing and Information Science, Mujinya was seen as a favourite.


He had successfully made it through the FDC primaries beating Lillian Aber by a sumptuous margin.


This, however, was a dream never to come true after it emerged that he failed one of his papers.


“My coursework marks were missing,” he complained.


Upon re-sitting the paper, it could only push him from 38% to 46% which is still short of the pass mark.


Mujinya later applied for a conceded pass, but nominations were already closed.


Citing foul play in the entire process, in this case being tossed around by the Academic Registrar, Mr. Alfred Masikye, the Guild electoral Commission and the College Registrar, bowed out of the race wishing his other candidates luck.


Influence of Political Parties


The Guild seat has often been shared by FDC and UYD for the past Five years; Onen Simon (FDC, 2010-11) Kata Ivan (UYD, 2012-13), Adeke Anna (FDC, 2013-14).


The disqualification of Mbabazi clipped the wings of the NRM from the race.


However, Phillip Musiime, who initially stood for the primaries and failed, allied with the NRM and took hold of the party ticket.


Mr. Oponya, the Electoral Commission Public Relations Officer, put forth resources like cars, money, public address systems as well as political support from some members of the party as being the reason candidates get attached to political parties.


The main reason though is to salvage votes from the party loyals.


Guild Presidential Debate:


Organised by Korad Adeneur Foundation on the March 10, this debate pitted candidates against each other in order to test their intellectual might.


The event was graced by the attendance of six former Guild Presidents including: DP President, Hon. Norbert Mao, Legal Adviser, Hon. Mukasa Mbidde and Youth MP for Western Uganda, Hon. Gerald Karuhanga who took turns to address the audience amidst ululations in the Main Hall.


Four presidential Candidates; Ivan Bwowe, Sarah Aseru, Lillian Aber and Nicholas Nanyeeya stood tall from the debate that saw UPC’s Sam Komakech, NRM’s Philip Musiime faltering almost entirely.


Influence of Money and Personal Resources


In a bid to canvass for votes, candidates have splashed millions of shillings in the Guild race either out of their own pockets or from the party coffers.


Aseru and Aber have stood out when it came to this.


The two ladies have hired a public address system ranging between Shs 350,000 to Shs 500,000 per day for the past three weeks in addition to a band close to the same amount.


However, students and fellow candidates have cited bribery of voters in their quest for votes.


Candidates who splashed huge chunks of money at other universities such as Kyambogo University, Uganda Christian University and Makerere University Business School were disappointed with the results.


The question of whether money shall buy the seat still remains a mystery till voting day.


Favourites In the Guild Race:


Ivan Bwowe of Lumumba Hall-23 years


A third year Law student contesting as an Independent candidate.

Bwowe

He attended St. Charles Lwanga Primary School serving as Head boy in 2004, and St. Andrews’-Matale for O’Level in 2008 where he was Assistant Head Prefect and finally Seeta High School where he was the Head Prefect in 2010.


Bwowe’s rise to fame has never been easy.


He was expelled by the University for participating in an anti-tuition/60% policy strike, but this was overhauled after he dragged the University to Court and won the lawsuit.


Considered by many as a fighter for student’s rights, Bwowe has been held by police more than twice for his act of courage.


He has always told students that where peace fails, force can be applied picking words from the late Nelson Mandela.


“I have been humiliated, I have been embarrassed and maliciously suspended for championing the students’ cause,” Brags Bwowe. Questions, however, linger as to whether he will successfully steer the Guild Office given his history of inciting violence.


Sarah Aseru of Complex Hall-23 years


She is a student of Industrial and Organisational Psychology and daughter to NRM Member of Parliament Hon Onzima Alex, State Minister For Local Government.


Sarah is the youngest member of the race and former General Secretary of School of Psychology Students’ Association.

Aseru

She emerged victorious as the flag bearer for the UYD beating off Bwowe, who in turn alleged that she bribed the 30 members of the General Assembly.


Aseru studied at Teressa Namilyango primary in 2005 before joining Bishop Cypriano Kihangire and then St. Peters S.S Naalya for her A’Level where she served as the students’ Judge.


When asked whether her father’s involvement with the NRM would not jeopardise her chances of becoming Guild President, Aseru clarified that she does not choose her father and is therefore not responsible for his actions.


Lillian Aber of Complex Hall-25-years


A member of the 79th Students’ Guild as the Information Minister, Aber opted to take on the seat using her slogan of “Negotiation as a way forward”.


Aber’s education background runs as far as Kasubi Primary School in Gulu, and Old Kampala S.S for both O’ And A’Level.


Like Aseru, Aber has used a lot of money in her pursuit of the top seat. She is currently pursuing Arts In Arts and is in her second last year.


Former members of the 79th Guild, however, seem to be against her and her ways of leadership.


The FDC chapter in particular seems to be uninterested in her, especially with rumours emerging that she was behind the fall of Mujinya in the first place.


Nicholas Nanyeeya of Nsibirwa Hall-25 years


Nanyeeya takes credit for having a scuffle with Amama Mbabazi during the celebrations of 90 years in 2012 at the Main Hall when he stood up to the Premier with lots of questions regarding Makerere University developments.


Pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Medicine, Nanyeeya has almost every support of the School of Health Sciences.


He is a health activist, a TV host at NBS as well as self-proclaimed author. He is an independent candidate who believes that University students should join forces like atoms.

Other candidates are Musiime Philip (NRM), Kintu Eddy (Independent), Komakech Sam (UPC), and Taabaro Julius (Independent).

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