Making Sense of Makerere Guild Elections

Makerere Students went to polls on Friday April 7. By all accounts, Makerere is the best and perhaps largest university in Uganda and in the region. The election came after a two-week long campaign period and watching the process, more lessons are to be learnt.

Stick welding students clad in T-Shirts with labels GGB (Gongom Guard Brigade) this inscription means they are from Lumumba, one of the halls on the university. This is a security make up of the hall. every hall has this

Campus politics is of course somewhat different from the national elections and so to juxtapose the two maybe mistaking an elephant grass for sugarcane. Thought within universities, politics is played in different ways but the general characteristic of the polls especially in our higher institutions is extortion, academic mediocrity hence poor prospects of National leadership. While politics in such institutions should be basis for criticizing what is wrong in the country, it seems from the look of things, the reverse is true.

For purposes of clarity, I begin with the electoral process with the choosing of the electoral commission. Immediately campaigns commence, everyday, at least there is a rally in one of the halls of students’ residence on campus. After every procession, I go undercover trailing each of the candidates in a procession to make some observations and perhaps see what happens in these processions and where they go there after.

One of the student supporters wearing a mask at Makerere during the guild elections. PHOTO BY OKELLO HERBERT ANDREW

Majority of candidates have organized camps that base in their halls. Some have a reinforcement of former students and or hired mercenaries who will later mobilize crowds, make posters and pin them all over. Some take a surveillance role to see if the candidates’ posters are safe/ have not been torn by opponents.  Every day of a rally, one camp mobilized several students who converge in a hall that a particular candidate resides. Boxes with dozens of tot-pack waragi are distributed to the lucky few as motivation to charge for the rally.

Police begging students to remain calm at one of the rallies in Livingstone Hall

One of the most vivid campaign processions was of Mercy Faith Lakisa a UYD independent leaning Candidate. After a rally at Marystuart, the procession exits from the main gate to Wandegeya round about, Katanga slum, Kikumi-Kikumi, then to Kikoni and then back to campus climaxing at Africa Hall. While at the Marystuart rally, the atmosphere is raucous, students strolled into the box grounds others filling the staircase to the hall road as the occupants of the largest female hall on campus the “ladies” fondly referred to as “boxers” watch the proceedings from their room galleries, while others from the tower windows, openings in their dome-shaped spectacular Mary Stuart hall, a hall with the shadows of the past glory.

Next to the contestants set of chairs lay a table that sat young beautiful looking ladies with serious and busy faces dressed in Gomesi, others SCR members sitting around them in red gowns led by the culture minister. The boxes that sat in front of the tables were wrapped with white papers labeled “Elders Box” standing emphatically bigger than the rest and with an inscription, “No coins allowed” candidates are instructed to drop between 10,000 and beyond to receive blessings from elders. Table occupants keep looking at the candidates with great anticipation.

Paul Kato together with Simon Wanyera being carried during the final guild rally on Thursday this week at Makerere University.

Within the procession, a get to learn that Lakisa is a 3rd year Dental Surgery student from Africa Hall and an old girl of Gayaza High School who had lost in UYD primaries after attaining 21 against 24 votes of William Karamagi.  The campaigns are full of life with excited young ladies and men some wielding sticks profusely sweating and dancing to the rhythmically deafening noise of sounds from the music system sagging on a canter that walks like a tortoise. Traffic is still at Wandegeya round about as thousands throng the streets. Students proceed to Katanga, a slum in the valley between Mulago and Makerere University hills. This street has attracted several businesses including students’ hostels. While here students carry their heads through the windows if their rooms while others stand at the balcony of the buildings to cheer the candidate. The life, enthuse that comes with excitement on the streets. It sweeps everyone off the street including children who follow the procession with baskets of sweet bananas along.

Lakisa is to later garner a total of 1,567 followed by William Karamagi a UYD flag bearer who got 1,041. In total, 13,508 votes were cast with 423 invalid votes, Paul Kato emerges victor after he swept the polls with 5205 votes drawing the largest number of votes from his school, School of Education. His nearest challenger, Abdu Kareem Ziritwaula managed 4,369 votes.
The tightly contested race saw the usual candidates posters going up buildings , tree branches, and electricity poles all over the university and the neighboring suburbs of Nakulabye, Kikoni, Wandegeya and Kikumi-kikumi amid deafening, dancing and drumming by the swarms of rowdy students clad in their chilly-red undergraduate gowns.

Kato Paul, Guild President Elect, Photo by Kizza Ali

This year’s was a tense campaign. Just a day students went to the polls, police made orders that no politicians were to be entertained at the students’ rallies. Before the orders could sink into the students, Col. Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change –FDC strong man had already  sneaked in the university accessing it through one of the dozens of illegal entrances and later be disguised in a Prado belonging to a one Doreen Nyanjura. Presence of the Police at the entrances busing themselves with searching each and every car to rid of any sort of cockroaches in case it disguised as Besigye will later look silly on realizing the man they are looking for is already inseparable with the students.

Students retreat to taking cover after shots as police exited Besigye from Makerere Guild Polls. PHOTO: OKELLO HERBERT ANDREW

Stones flying in the air will later exchange with bullets teargas and spray in the clash leading to car glass breakages as well as students and policemen sustaining injuries from the pelting stones. This just like the previous elections has been fused with national politics driven by money, oratory and later a fair amount of shallowness exhibited by not following issues but rather following the comic, the funny candidate. Candidates with funny and heavy vocabulary will be considered darlings. Most eye-catching in this election are slogans such as kowtow in their poohoo, tang tang buu nuguu among others.

A polling registrar displaying a ballot paper during the tallying process at Faculty of Arts

A student lies on ground after being overpowered by booze during the campaigns

Makerere campaigns just like national politics are full of mudslinging (usually called chemical), humor especially with emotions that are carried n the faces of the supporters, wacky ideas and then those campaign strategies such as one-o- one and door-to-door strategy as employed by one of the independent candidates James Kazungu who eventually garner a whooping on vote out of the 13,508 ballots cast that has buried him to criticism and ridicule.

We congratulate Kato Paul upon fighting for his share and we wish him a good time in budgeting for his 210millions. GRCs can afford to appease him in any way to attain ministries.

Woman of the year: Angela Merkel Named most powerful woman of the year

 

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While East Africans and Africans are still shocked with the way the current president of Tanzania who recently attained office is heavily doing work in Tanzania, UK magazine “TIME” has named the most powerful woman of the year in the world.

 The German chancellor has been awarded honor for leading Europe through debt crisis and standing firm in support of aid to refugees. She becomes the first woman to bag the honorary award since 1986.

According to the time magazine, Europe’s most powerful leader is a refugee from a time and place where her power would have been unimaginable. The German Democratic Republic, where Angela Merkel grew up, was neither democratic nor a republic; it was an Orwellian horror show, where the Iron Curtain found literal expression in the form of the Berlin Wall. angel

A shortlist of candidates chosen by TIME magazine’s editors for the 2015 Person of the Year included the eight contenders, in alphabetical order include:

  1. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi,who as leader of ISIS has inspired followers to both fight in his self-declared caliphate of Iraq and Syria, and also stage attacks in countries like Tunisia and France.
  2. Black Lives Matter activists,who have protested inequality towards African Americans, especially in their treatment by law enforcement.
  3. Caitlyn Jenner,whose coming out as a transgender woman prompted widespread conversations about gender identity and issues of equality for the LGBT community.
  4. Travis Kalanick,who as CEO of Uber drove his car-hailing company to an early $70 billion valuation, but also drew criticism about the downside of the sharing economy.
  5. Angela Merkel,who as German chancellor has been at the center of major news events this year, from economic strife in the Eurozone to Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis.
  6. Vladimir Putin,who as president of Russia has defied Western sanctions over his country’s military activity in Ukraine to play a critical but precarious role in the war on ISIS.
  7. Hassan Rouhani,who as president of Iran is seeking to bring his country out of pariah status and repair its sanctions-crippled economy by pursuing a nuclear deal with the West.
  8. Donald Trump,whose populist rhetoric has made him frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential candidacy and stirred debate about the party’s future.

Every year since 1927, TIME has chosen a Person of the Year that influenced the world, for better or worse. From Charles Lindbergh to the Ebola Fighters, see past Persons of the Year.

In 1936, Time magazine opened up this contest to women. She is the first to be awarded the title since 1986.

Lambu site residents surprise Amama with cake to commemorate NRM at 30

Amama receiving a cake from residents of Lambu landing site on L. Victoria today

Amama receiving a cake from residents of Lambu landing site on L. Victoria today

NRA/NRM today marked 30 years in power and the national celebrations were successfully held at Fort Portal in Kabarole district. On this day in 1986, a rag tag rebel group, the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri Museveni stormed Kampala and overran all the oppressive government installations at the time, to liberate the people of Uganda.

At 30, presidential aspirant of Go-Forward and self-proclaimed flag bearer of The Democratic Alliance (TDA) chose not to commemorate the party’s day in Fort Portal. Amama instead continued with his campaigns, as only 23 days remain to Election Day.amama

While addressing the “crowds” at Lambu landing site, located on the shores of Lake Victoria in Masaka district, the Go Forward leader was presented a cake by residents. The presentation of a cake to Amama took him by surprise as he could already spot the mockery embedded in this gift. To top it off, Mr. Mbabazi was crowned in a decorated children’s cone hat, the only coronation many can already predict he will be honored with between now, and even after February 18.

Mbabazi thereafter took to Twitter to voice his surprise, and to clarify that it was NOT his birthday.

“It is not my birthday but the residents of Lambu landing site surprised me with cake. Thank you for your consideratn,” his tweet read.ama pic

In relation to his recent statements in Rubirizi that his blood is NRM, I say that the residents of Lambu were smart to remind dear old Amama Mbabazi that he had diverted from historical mission.

After liberation Amama served as Director General External Security Organization (1986-1992).

Happy NRM@30, Amama Mbabazi.

2015WOMAN: Angela Merkel Named most powerful woman of the year

Chancellor Merkel and President Obama talk in a restaurant in Washington D.C.

Chancellor Merkel and President Obama talk in a restaurant in Washington D.C.

While East Africans and Africans are still shocked with the way the current president of Tanzania who recently attained office is heavily doing work in Tanzania, UK magazine “TIME” has named the most powerful woman of the year in the world.

 The German chancellor has been awarded honor for leading Europe through debt crisis and standing firm in support of aid to refugees. She becomes the first woman to bag the honorary award since 1986.

According to the time magazine, Europe’s most powerful leader is a refugee from a time and place where her power would have been unimaginable. The German Democratic Republic, where Angela Merkel grew up, was neither democratic nor a republic; it was an Orwellian horror show, where the Iron Curtain found literal expression in the form of the Berlin Wall.

A shortlist of candidates chosen by TIME magazine’s editors for the 2015 Person of the Year included the eight contenders, in alphabetical order include:

  1. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi,who as leader of ISIS has inspired followers to both fight in his self-declared caliphate of Iraq and Syria, and also stage attacks in countries like Tunisia and France.
  2. Black Lives Matter activists,who have protested inequality towards African Americans, especially in their treatment by law enforcement.
  3. Caitlyn Jenner,whose coming out as a transgender woman prompted widespread conversations about gender identity and issues of equality for the LGBT community.
  4. Travis Kalanick,who as CEO of Uber drove his car-hailing company to an early $70 billion valuation, but also drew criticism about the downside of the sharing economy.
  5. Angela Merkel,who as German chancellor has been at the center of major news events this year, from economic strife in the Eurozone to Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis.
  6. Vladimir Putin,who as president of Russia has defied Western sanctions over his country’s military activity in Ukraine to play a critical but precarious role in the war on ISIS.
  7. Hassan Rouhani,who as president of Iran is seeking to bring his country out of pariah status and repair its sanctions-crippled economy by pursuing a nuclear deal with the West.
  8. Donald Trump,whose populist rhetoric has made him frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential candidacy and stirred debate about the party’s future.

Every year since 1927, TIME has chosen a Person of the Year that influenced the world, for better or worse. From Charles Lindbergh to the Ebola Fighters, see past Persons of the Year.

In 1936, Time magazine opened up this contest to women. She is the first to be awarded the title since 1986.

Germany’s first female chancellor took office on Nov. 22, 2005. Here’s a look at her life from her youth as a math wiz student to her entrance into politics after the fall of the Berlin wall.

In the 2016 positioning, will TDA revive hopes in Ugandans amidst the kangaroo EC?

2016

Ugandan Presidential Candidates 2016

As 2016 draws near, the race for presidency arguably is getting to concern as political parties prepare to field their preferred choices. But is history about to repeat itself? Could this debate now raging in this country over electoral reforms and political momentum it is generating more so with the parliament’s passing of the “electoral reforms” determine the Museveni succession?

Let us rewind, in the 1996 general elections, the leaders of Multi-party democracy who included Democratic Party (DP), Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) among others formed a united front which was initially called the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) which was later objected by the interim Electoral Commission (IEC)on accounts that political parties were still banned. The members harmonized it into Inter-Party Forces Cooperation (IPFC) and fronted Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere as their joint candidate. He was challenged by the incumbent president Museveni in that election.s 2016 draws near, the race for presidency arguably is getting to concern as political parties prepare to field their preferred choices. But is history about to repeat itself? Could this debate now raging in this country over electoral reforms and political momentum it is generating more so with the parliament’s passing of the “electoral reforms” determine the Museveni succession?

In 2011, the opposition attempted to rally behind FDC’s Kiiza Besigye under the IPC but failed due to differences in the individual parties. The failure at the time stemmed from disagreements on whether to participate in the elections or not to. Where some section of members were against a move to participate in the elections arguing that the EC was incapable of running a free and fair election. Members ended up splitting the coalition.

With the 2016 general elections setting in, Ugandan political sphere is seeming taking a new shape with a new development of The Democratic Alliance (TDA) where the amalgamation of various political parties have all been brought under this same Umbrella including the recent inclusion of the former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi as an independent candidate under the eminent persons.

Despite all this, there are issues rotating around the 2016 general elections that we cannot let go minus talking about. Of course, as the opposition prepares to front one candidate, the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) which arguably remain the dominant political force in  the country already has its sole candidate in President Museveni, the opposition must speak one voice in order to win the ruling party which enjoys among other privileges, the state machinery including the army, police, access to the national treasury etc.

Already, Democratic Party’s Mao knows he cannot win an election with his party and the only way to win is in the forces and maintain the relevancy of DP in the national politics.

Besigye joins TDA as a continuation of the failed 2010 IPC and he is fully aware that it will be one candidate perhaps fronted by the opposition if they are to win an election.

Amama Mbabazi has gone to the campaigns where he has already declared that at the end of everything, he is going to be president of Uganda. In his insinuations, he has already undermined the choice in TDA by stating his position. And this posse a question in TDA perhaps to answer of whether we can bow down to you or you can bow down to us. It is a question of ego. The FDC fears that Amama cannot just walk over from the ruling party and takes over the opposition. He says he has already launched the go forward campaign and further thinks it is his time to contest against president Museveni. And he is using TDA as a platform to foster his position that he has a backing of the Besigye supporters.

But as these internal disagreements continue to emanate, one wants to ask, does the opposition and TDA have an agenda? If their main agenda is making sure that Museveni is not the next president of Uganda, then these TDA aspirants should get to harmonize their positions themselves and decide on who the candidate should be. Then there shall be a consensus built on influencers.

When he comes to the TDA, Amama has no justification to associate with the opposition. The reason for this one may want to argue he has been the castigator of the opposition and at the center stage of all sorts of evils done by the current government and thus cannot fit in the shoes of the Opposition.

However since he identifies himself with the opposition, one thing that the opposition must embrace is fronting the issues that at the moment, this country needs change not based on the personality. And I think when he preaches that, he will definitely buy from the opposition as well as in the ruling NRM that believes in him.

Now another question that still haunts the opposition is the electoral commission and whether it is independent or not. There is a lot of plunder as well as blunders being committed by EC. In the first instance, Badru Kigundu (the EC boss) is not an implementer of the law, first he is not parliament, he has no powers to interpret the law and he has no powers to make the law. His duty therefore is to set guidelines that aspirants are going to follow in the elections.

However from what we see, because he has no powers, other key stakeholders including the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen. Kayihura and the Attorney General Fred Ruhindi can only come in to sit on his sides in order for him to be comfortable to address the presidential candidates that Amama Mbabazi is only doing rallies instead of consultative meetings.

The police boss uses his authority as IGP and he wants to stop the rally but he doesn’t have any way to do it. This is why he uses Badru Kigundu to carry out an illegality of stopping Amama. While our constitution is very silent about the nature of consultative meetings. All our laws don’t describe what should constitute of a meeting. It is only Public Order Management Act (POMA) that talks about.

The police’s involvement is of course portrayed as sectarian and seemingly preparing for the 2016 general election. This is manifested in the massive recruits of many youth in the forces as crime preventers, and other militia groups being trained such as the infamous Kakooza Mutale’s

Former MAK student set to pick nomination forms

By Davidson Ndyabahika

Sylvia Ampumuza

Sylvia Ampumuza

KAMPALA: Sylvia Ampumuza will today Friday July 24th 2015 storm the national secretariat of the National Resistance Movement, NRM, where she will collect the expression of interest and nomination forms of the party to vie for the 2016 National Female youth Member of Parliament election.

In a phone interview received earlier this morning, Sylvia has called on youth to support her for the betterment of youth agenda.

“I call upon my fellow youth to support me. We are the majority in this country and we need to fight for our relevancy in the issues of this nation. I am picking my nomination forms today,” said Sylvia

Sylvia Ampumuza will be competing with other females across the country in the collegiate elections done by youth councils across the country.

Other females with the same interest include, Agnes Tushabe and Ann Ruyondo Lumumba.

Sylvia aspires to replace the current National Female Youth MP Ms. Monica Amoding.

The yellow girl

The yellow girl

There are currently five youth MPs representing the eastern, western, northern, central regions and a national female MP.

Monica Amoding and her western counterpart Gerald Karuhanga were in 2014 ranked the best performing youth legislators in an audit by a consortium of NGOs.

Sylvia Ampumuza is the former Ntungamo Universaity Students Association (NUSA) president of Makerere University Chapter and a former student of Information Technology (IT).

Monica Amoding the Current National Female Youth MP

Monica Amoding the Current National Female Youth MP