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President Museveni wants EC to conduct UNSA elections

President Museveni. PHOTO via @KagutaMuseveni

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Electoral Commission-EC will oversee the forthcoming elections of Uganda National Students Association-UNSA, URN has learnt. The decision was reportedly reached in a meeting between President Yoweri Museveni, the patron of UNSA and the association leadership held at Entebbe State House on Monday.

The meeting followed an order issued by Justice Musa Sekaana in January 2019 when he halted the UNSA polls following a petition by Ronald Nahwera, a student from Kyambogo University. Nahwera sought orders restraining the outgoing UNSA Speaker, Alfred Ongwen from presiding over the said elections, arguing that his term of office expired on December, 31st, 2018.

Justice Sekaana directed the UNSA leadership led by Jotham Yamurebire Burobuto to meet with the Board of Trustees (Ministry of Education and Sports) and its Patron President Museveni to see how they can harmonize complaints from subscribers. He argued that the students had been in court severally to challenge a number of issues related to accountability of more than Shillings 150 million, its leadership and Constitution, which gives the executive lots of power.

He asked the UNSA leadership to resolve the matters with the Board of Trustees and Patron report back to court with a detailed report. Now, URN has learnt the State House meeting came up with four resolutions. One of them is that the Electoral Commission presides over the elections and that the current UNSA constitution be amended to fill the loopholes.

The meeting also agreed in principle that UNSA becomes a statutory body and that a forensic audit is conducted and the culprits be brought to book. However, some of the students interviewed by URN, say they are strongly opposed to Electoral Commission to preside over their polls.

The outgoing UNSA Speaker, Alfred Ongwen, says their constitution doesn’t allow doesn’t allow anyone outside the Association to preside over the elections of a new leadership. Godfrey Akampa, a student at Law Development Center and one of the petitioners, says he is tandem with all the resolutions with the exception of using Electoral Commission to preside over their polls.

“I will consent to some resolutions but I will not support what is wrong. I’m glad that the President was concerned about the fact that money was being stolen within the Association”, said Akampa. He however, said he would be okay if a committee is appointed to supervise their elections as opposed to bringing in Electoral Commission.

Some sources of the sources that attended the meeting also told URN on condition of anonymity that the students asked Museveni for funds to start income generating projects and scholarships like he has always done to other leaders who have approached him.

However, the President reportedly asked the student leaders to register for one of the items and not both. According to the minutes seen by URN, 12 students registered for enterprise funding and 11 registered for scholarships because they were interested in further studies.

The Students will now return to court on September, 12th, 2019 together with their lawyer to present the resolution to the judge. Our reporter was unable to independently verify details of the meeting.

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URN

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