Muteesa I Royal University Guild Elections Halted

3471 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
The violence erupted after allegations that the University administration was rigging polls for Trust Kirya, the National Resistance Movement-NRM party candidate in the race which attracted four candidates.

Guild elections at Muteesa I Royal University in Kirumba-Masaka have been halted following an outbreak of violence.

The violence erupted after allegations that the University administration was rigging polls for Trust Kirya, the National Resistance Movement-NRM party candidate in the race which attracted four candidates. The others are independent candidate Milly Amanyire, Wilson Okecho, a member of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party and Jackson Kasujja, the Democratic Party candidate.

However, three of the four candidates accuse Florence Nampijja, the Dean of Students at the Buganda Kingdom founded institution, of manipulating the register to allow non-eligible students to vote. Angry students stormed the polling station at the main university block and confiscated voting materials sparking off a fight among students.

Wilson Okecho, the FDC candidate notes that while the election guidelines stipulate that only students who have paid up to 40 percent of the tuition fees and 100 percent of functional fees should appear on the voters register, a number of those without the stated requirements were allowed to cast votes.
 
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Milly Amanyire, the Independent candidate says the bending of guild election rules means the administration is biased.
 
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Anti-riot police led by Masaka District Police Commander John Mwaule rushed to the scene and stopped the process, which had turned chaotic.

Hilim Ssentongo, the University Electoral Commission Chairperson confirmed the confusion saying that a different register indicating a total of 400 instead of the 70 eligible voters had surfaced on polling day. Ssentongo notes that some people who are not students stormed the polling station and demanded voting rights.
 
Florence Nampijja, the Dean of Students dismissed the allegations as baseless. She claims that by 1April 18 they had only 70 students who qualified to take part in the polls but the number increased when more students paid. Nampijja says only one student who had not paid had erroneously appeared on the register.

Police, candidates and the university administration are currently held up in the meeting to resolve the impasse as polling is halted.

 

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.