Mak students reject proposed constitutional amendments

Makerere University students, mainly from Lumumba Hall, protest over poor meals in 2016. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • They asked the University Council to reconsider the proposed amendments, saying, “they do not represent student interests”.

Makerere University student representatives have rejected a string of proposed constitutional amendments that seek to, among others, ban physical guild elections.   

The Makerere University Council chaired by Lorna Magara had proposed that the guild elections and any other electoral-rated activities, including campaigns, be conducted online. The council also banned all first year students from participating in the electoral process. 

The council proposed that the Dean of Students chairs the committee that elects the electoral commission. The Dean was also given powers to terminate the Guild cabinet after the expiry of their term of office.  

However, the student leadership called a crisis meeting on Tuesday at SCR Room Africa Hall and spurned the proposed virtual elections as an insult.

They asked the University Council to reconsider the proposed amendments, saying, “they do not represent student interests”.

Mr Ben Joseph Kayanja, a student leader from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, said the virtual system is not efficient. 

“We are questioning the capacity of the virtual system to accommodate close to 40,000 students voting. In the past, we tried the virtual system but we got challenges because a number of students were unable to cast their votes using the same mode of voting,” Mr Kayanja said. 

He also said the proposed system failed the students during the 77th graduation when it came to uploading marks. He said about 500 students missed graduation because of the system. 

Mr Emmanuel Birtomumisho, another student leader from the College of Business and Management Sciences, said the university struggles with its technology. He asked the authorities to allow all students to participate in the guild elections.

Justifying why year one students should participate in the polls, Mr Birtomumisho said: “Inclusion is the third core of value of the great institution of Makerere and also correlates to the prime goal of the constitutional review commission, that is to say, an all-inclusive constitution.’’ 

When contacted yesterday, Ms Magara said she had not yet received an official communication about the students’ concerns on the Constitution Review Commission.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.