Chaos as Makerere alumni elect convocation leaders
What you need to know:
- The chaos followed the late delivery of election materials which the contestants blamed on the Returning Officer and the irregularities in the convocation lists on which some of the voters' and contestants' names were missing.
There was heavy security deployment and chaos at Makerere University on Friday as the alumni voted for the new convocation leaders.
The chaos followed the late delivery of election materials which the contestants blamed on the Returning Officer and the irregularities in the convocation lists on which some of the voters' and contestants' names were missing.
The elections were supposed to start at 9.00 AM but had not by 3PM. However, the verification exercise of voters was taking place amidst heavy security deployment by the time of filing this story.
The eligible voters are those Makerere alumni who have been able to pay an annual subscription fee of Shs10,000 for Makerere convocation membership.
Seven contestants have lined up to replace Mr Tanga Odoi, the outgoing chairperson of the convocation, who also doubles as the NRM Electoral Commission Chairperson, whose term in the office ends in April 2023.
The contestants for the chairperson post include; Mr Jackson Mucunguzi (police personnel), Mr Ezra Byakutangaza (Makerere staff), Mr Charles Odongtho (journalist), Mr George Turyamureeba Mugabi (Makerere staff), Mr Gerald Karuhanga (Former Member of Parliament, Ntungamo Municipality), Mr Anthony Tibaingana (Makerere staff) and Mr Simon Byakatonda (Worker's MP).
Ms Sarah Kalema Kyakuwa, the Makerere University Alumnus (2015), questioned the verification system of voters, suspecting foul play.
“I know that if you have been a Makerere University student, there are things identifying you, it is a student number and registration number. Why are they asking for National ID," she wondered.
Mr Ezra Byakutangaza, a voter suggested that the elections be postponed, saying the returning officer delayed publishing the lists of voters and this has left out many people who had come to vote.
In the same way, Mr Richards Ainebyona, who graduated in 2006, said he paid the convocation membership fee for two years but unfortunately his name never appeared on the list.
“I looked through the lists that were published online and my name was not there. I thought maybe they forgot to display other lists. I came to the university to check but the lists were not pinned on the notice board yet according to the convocation constitution and the road map, they must pin those lists. We tried to question the officials concerned but they were ignoring us, I am very disappointed in the system," he said.
Mr Martin Kato who is contesting for the position of committee member said: “The process has a lot of irregularities starting with the voters' register. Many members of the convocation who subscribed don't appear on the register and those who appear, have lots of uncertainties, for example, names don't correlate with years of graduation, and courses among others. So even when the voting takes place, it has all grounds to be petitioned against in the courts of law.”
Mr Gerald Karuhanga, one of the contestants for the chairperson post said the elections should be halted due to the irregularities in the electoral system.
He together with Mr Robert Rutaro, Dr Lakisa Mercy Faith, Mr Charles Odongtho, Dr Esther Nankya and Mr Martins Kato took their petition to the High Court of Uganda on December 28, expressing their discontentment in the convocation elections, saying that there were a lot of irregularities, illegalities and malpractices.
They were seeking to be granted an interim injunction order to halt the process. However, Mr Jamson Karemani, the deputy registrar at High Court dismissed it.
Mr Tanga Odoi said in the general meeting that the elections are going to be conducted today at all costs.