Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University will have to wait a little longer for the guild polls. This follows a decision by the University Council to refer the disputed amendments to the Guild Electoral Regulations to its Rules and Privileges Committee for review and report back within a week’s time.
This was part of the resolutions made by the council at its special meeting held on February 19, 2020 under the guidance of its chair Lorna Magara. Management informed council during the meeting that they had extended the guild polls on request from the students.
The then acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Umar Kakumba okayed the extension of the polls pending consideration of the proposed amendments to the regulations as requested by students during their emergency council meeting held on Oct 29th, 2019.
It noted that, Council had received written submissions from the Students’ Guild on the proposed amendments, which need to be considered urgently, read a communication from the council.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network (URN) following the Council meeting, Winston Churchill Ruhayana, a third-year Law student and member of the Guild Tribunal, says the council decision further delays the elections and increases an unnecessary anxiety among the students’ body.
Ruhayana says students are already biased that the regulations are likely to be passed even when they rejected the amendments.
But Mark Owiny, former Makerere University Guild Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister and fourth year-law student, says the proposed regulations contravene the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act (UOTIA), which mandate students’ organisations and associations to form their constitutions.
“These electoral regulations are trying to dictate what should appear in the student’s constitution. If you look at the entire regulation booklet, there are a number of provisions that are out rightly against the freedom of expression,” Owiny says.
Adding that you can’t have student’s guild electoral regulations, without consulting students. But when students want something that actually benefits them for instance, the guild had proposed the supplementary examinations policy, there they asked the students to go and first consult the Senate, but when something affects the students and is to their [management] advantage, you don’t want to consult students.”
The University Council approved Makerere University Guild election regulations during its December 6th, 2018 sitting. The regulations were gazetted as “Makerere University Student’s Guild Constitution Elections Regulations No.1 of 2018” on January 11, 2019.
Key among the provisions is the ban on guild rallies in halls of residence and restriction of guild campaigns to four rallies. They also bar 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. As a result, management deferred their implementation and referred the matter to Council for reconsideration.
Council didn’t review the regulations as expected, which has led to the current stalemate. Faith Kukundakwe, a second year student of Bachelors of law at Makerere University says prolonging the elections puts students’ leadership on a test saying they are likely to end up with poor leaders as some may withdraw from the race.