By Melanie Atwebembeire and Nicholas Muteesasira
Students and the Makerere University Council are in a standoff over the newly proposed electoral reforms ahead of the guild elections.
Some of the proposed reforms suggest that any student who has ever been suspended or faced the disciplinary committee for any matter will not be eligible to stand for any political position at the university; these regulations were passed by the university governing council on 6th Dec 2018 for better management of the university.
However guild leaders claim they were not consulted which pushed them to form an Electoral Reform committee ( ERC), meant to review the reforms. The ERC later petitioned the university council after failing to resolve the matter.
Students remain dissatisfied with the reforms claiming that they are very unfair and uncalled for.
“A student cannot be denied a chance to participate in the electoral process just because they have ever appeared before the disciplinary committee over a matter which was resolved”, says Nelson Bahati, former guild representative councilor.
The other contentious reforms students have rejected, is about the scope of campaigns. According to the new electoral reforms, students are not allowed to campaign from their halls of residence.
Bahati adds that (this restriction of campaigning) banning campaigns from halls of residence is – unfair because that has been the norm and it is where aspirants get a lot of support.
Kateregga Julius, former guild president of the University has told the Nile post that the proposed reforms are deliberately being used to curtail specific individuals who are thought to have external influence.
“The government is afraid of the people power force, not only in Makerere but even elsewhere like in Kyambogo where they are frustrating students from being nominated perhaps prove this) “ Kateregga reveals.
However Kagoda Zaidi, information minister Kyambogo University disagrees with Karegga insisting that no student has been blocked from being nominated.
Haris Akampurira, a guild presidential aspirant commends the idea of electoral regulation but questions the mannerism through which it is being handled; he calls upon all students to reject these reforms.
However, Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke, manager Communications and international relations at the University, says university council received a petition into the matter from the guild speaker which was sent to the legal adding that results will come out on Thursday.
Failure to reach an agreement by both parties means delays in elections
These reforms have pushed guild aspirants to call for a press conference to sound their dissatisfaction with the university council however they couldn’t succeed at it as police dispersed and arrested them claiming that they had no permission to call for a presser.
Julius Kateregga the university guild president condemns the act saying that it is depriving students of their rights of speech.