Makerere University cancels student organized guild elections
Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University has said any elections organized by students without consent from the University Management will be declared null and void.

Last month following campaign rallies that left one student stabbed to death, the University suspended the election indefinitely.

In a letter addressed to the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe and copied to the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, her deputy Thomas Tayebwa and the First Lady, Janet Museveni who doubles as the Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Lorna Magara said the elections for the 88th Makerere university students’ guild leadership were suspended indefinitely due to the violent scenes that erupted during the campaign rallies.

“Makerere university council is appalled by the violent events that have characterized the electoral campaigns for the 88th Students Guild leadership, which resulted in the loss of the life of one of the young people participating in the campaign activities.” 

”The University Management and Council have repeatedly raised concerns about the persistent cases of indiscipline and violent altercations among members of the Students Guild and the Students Senior Common Room, which often resulted in damage to University property and injury to University Students and staff.”

”Management and the Council have repeatedly engaged the Student leaders at the Guild and SCR levels to address the violent behaviour, but the engagements have not yielded any improvements,” Ms Magara addressed.

In addition, Ms Magara said management shall continue to investigate all cases of violence witnessed during the camapigns and ensure all the perpetrators are brought to book.

“Management shall investigate all cases of violence in the electoral campaigns for the 88th Students Guild leadership and report to the Council for appropriate action,” she said before adding that the Council will convene in an emergency meeting on Friday, July 15, 2022 to consider further actions to address student indiscipline and violence at the University.”

Days after the tight decision, the top Management also resolved to start holding digital elections as solution to the continuous chaos caused by the students.

Announcing the new rules during an emergency meeting that was held on Friday July 15, 2022, council chairperson Lorna Magara said the decision was taken to help instill discipline in students and all parties at the university.

“Any future elections shall be virtual,” the Management also rose to condemn the continuous violent scenes witnessed at the university every time there are guild elections and set a date when all issues will be handled.

Going on the Council further set up a six-member committee to review all operations of the student’s leadership before a final decision is made. 

On July 29th, 2022, student leaders led by outgoing guild president Shamim Nambasa selected a committee of five students to engage the University council to reinstate the Guild leadership.

With this however, Nambasa earlier this week said the management has gone past the agreed time to decide on a proper date to have the elections held. She said attempts to reach out to the Varsity council have also not yielded positive results.

In this, Nambasa together with the entire guild leadership had planned to stage their own elections for the new Guild President and their respective College Guild representatives this Tuesday.

These also went on to share posters in different student “WhatsApp” groups inviting students to participate in the planned guild polls. 

However, the said elections did not happen as planned. According to Barnabas Nawangwe the Vice-chancellor who wrote suspending the “planned” reiterated no elections will be held at the University this semester.

“It has come to the attention of the University management that the 88th Guild Electoral commission has called on students to have an election on 9th August 2022,” Nawangwe said in an August 9th, 2022 letter addressed to the chairperson of the 88th Guild Electoral Commission.

He reminded the electoral commission that any move to hold elections this semester contrary to the resolution by the University will have serious consequences to the participants.

“The University management would like to re-affirm its position that there will be no elections this semester and hereby call on the students at Makerere University to prepare for the forthcoming examinations. Any move to hold or mobilize students to turn up in any act of illegality will face disciplinary action,” he added.