As Makerere University staff demand for arrears from government, the student guild contestants have had to wait for a re-election for over five months now, two developments that might affect the re-opening of the university.
The Makerere University Electoral Commission presented 13 students for the guild elections of the 2016/2017 academic year, and announced Basil Biddemu Mwota, a student majoring in Arts with Education, winner.
However, his close competitor Roy Ssembogga, former varsity EC chairperson, disputed Mwotta’s election and petitioned the Tribunal, which suspended the process.
In response, Mwotta sought reprieve in the High Court, which was futile, paving the way for the tribunal’s stand to hold sway. The tribunal comprises the Dean of Students Cyriaco Kabagambe, who is the secretary to the tribunal, a legal advisor, Imaam of the MUK mosque; the chaplains of St. Augustine and St. Francis chapels, and the Guild Speaker and his deputy.
“The elections in one of the polling centers, specifically the School of Education where the initial winner resides, had a lot of irregularities,” Ssembogga, a student offering Bachelor of Medicine in Surgery, said.
However, Mwotta denied any such allegations saying: “There cannot be vote rigging in Makerere since the votes keep around the polling centers and students safeguard their votes till when the results are announced.”
For the last five months the Students Guild is conducting its affairs through the Office of the Dean since the outgoing Guild Council was technically dissolved, but the incoming student leadership is yet to be sworn in due to the tribunal’s delay in resolving Ssembogga’s grievances.
Efforts by EagleOnline to get comment from the Dean of Students Mr Kabagambe were futile, as he hung up and did not answer repeated calls.
However, the tribunal had promised to communicate to the candidates the date for the re-election as soon as the university opens for the new semester. But this development has been affected by the strike by the non-teaching staff, who are demanding that the Ministries of Finance and Ministry of Public Service honor a pledge made to them by the President in 2015.
‘’The Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and that of Public Service promised to pay the non-teaching staff in the next financial budget since they were not included in the 2014/2015 financial budget, however, the Permanent Secretary who had given this ultimatum has again tried to resort to the same trend of pushing our money to the next year which we are not allowing,’’ Pascal Kyalimpa, the Chief Custodian of Nsibirwa Hall said.