Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has finally lifted a ban on the long awaited students’ guild elections.
The decision is contained in his March 6, letter to the Dean of Students Cyriaco Kabagambe.
According to Nawangwe, the decision follows the publication of the “Amendments to The Makerere University Students Guild Constitution (Elections) Regulations No.1 of 2018” in the Uganda Gazette, Vol. CXIII No. 14 of 6th March, 2020.
“I hereby lift the extension of guild elections Period with effect from Monday, 9th March 2020,” says Professor Nawangwe.
On Wednesday March 4th, 2020 Makerere University governing council revised and passed the students electoral regulations. This was after the University Council considered the report of the Legal, Rules and Privileges Committee on the matter of the proposed amendments.
The regulations maintain a ban on open Guild presidential campaigns within the Halls of residence and places designated as lecture space. The newly amended regulation mandates the Electoral Commission, in consultation with the Dean of Students and the Director of Estates and Works to designate and gazette the areas for the rallies provided that any candidate during a campaign period to be free to go and campaign within any space at the University.
The University Council removed regulation 7(5) that restricted the number of rallies. It, however, amended the regulations to have all rallies and debates take place within 10 calendar days at the stipulated campaign venues and between the hours of 3 pm -6 pm, during weekdays, and between 8 am-6 pm, during weekends/Public Holidays.
Last month, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Umar Kakumba issued a directive staying all electoral activities pending a review of the contested electoral reforms. The directive triggered anxiety among students and aspiring leaders. The students observed that the decision has kept students in total darkness adding that they are now hoping against hope to have the elections conducted.
These regulations were passed and approved by the Makerere University Council at its December 6, 2018 sitting. Key among the provisions is the ban on guild rallies in halls of residence and restriction of guild campaigns to four rallies.
They also barred students from acts of hooliganism and use of obscene language during the campaigns and required 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.
The students however 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 did not timely review them as expected, causing the current stalemate.