A section of Makerere University students have vowed to boycott the planned universal suffrage elections scheduled for Saturday.
The University Council is planning to hold a universal suffrage election across all colleges and halls of residence to elect a Constitutional Review Commission that will participate in amending the guild constitution.
Last month, the University council terminated the electoral process and suspended the students’ caretaker government and guild leadership structure following the chaotic campaigns that resulted in the death of Bewotti Betungura, a student from Uganda Christian University.
The council later set up a six-member committee to review all operations of the students and come up with a report. A month later, the committee released a report to the council which was never made public.
The council had earlier made it clear that all resolutions will be informed by the final report produced by the select committee. Part of the resolutions from the council is to approve the Makerere University Students Guild statute subject to the amendments proposed by the council.
Council also resolved to review a section of the Guild constitution. According to the council, students shall vote for a Constitutional Review Commission through universal suffrage in every college and halls of residence.
The commission, if elected, must have representatives from each of the collage, each of the halls of residence, Jinja campus, and disabled students. The University council further noted that the constitution review commission shall provide students leadership at the university in the interim.
But student leaders from halls of residence and colleges have since written to the University Council expressing their dissatisfaction as well as distancing themselves from the organized elections. Some students are also mobilizing their colleagues to boycott the election, claiming that it is against the students’ will.
Lawrence Alionze, former Guild aspirant says that he has already mobilized his supporters not to take part in the election labeling the process illegal and immoral.
“I and my team will not take part in that immoral and illegal process, everything that the University council or management has done up to this point is illegal, students’ representation on the University Council is statutory and it is provided for in the University and Tertiary Institution Act.”
Lawel Muhwezi, one of the students spearheading the boycott also said the council has no authority to organize students-related elections.
“As students, we are concerned about this election because the constitution does not give any law to the University administration to hold any election on behalf of students”, Muhwezi said.
Muhwezi was also concerned about the fact that none of the students was able to see the report produced by the select committee of the University.
“The University Council Select Committee did not release the preliminary report to the public and student fraternity as expected. The only publication has been the ridiculous partial resolutions by the University Council”, reads a letter Lawel wrote to students.
Normally, the Guild election process is entirely handled by the Guild electoral commission which was also suspended by the University Council. The former chairperson of the Guild Electoral Commission Deo Kayigamba said he was never contacted by the council to help in the matter.
“I am concerned about this, because whatever happens and it is not in favor of students it affects me as well, but since the management decided not to involve means they can handle themselves, so right now am concentrating on doing papers and leave.”
The process of nominating those who are interested in the election was left to hall wardens, and college principles.