KAMPALA — Former East African Legislative assembly (EALA) contestant and a management consultant Mr. Ronald Mivule says he will lead a peaceful protest to challenge the Makerere University Convocation election exercise slated for Friday, December 30.
At least a sizable number of the university community including candidates have raised concerns—citing the opeque nature in which the exercise leading to the Friday polls is being conducted.
Speaking to this website on Wednesday, Mr. Mivule who also led the Uganda Management Institute (UMI) Convocation as chairperson for seven years says a group of alumni members will Thursday December 30 walk peacefully to register their discomfort with the university on a number of concerns including suspected forgery that is threatening to mar the upcoming exercise.
Makerere University Convocation is the statutory body that brings together its staff, alumni and other stakeholders. Elections for the Convocation’s 2023 to 2027 office bearers will be held on Friday, 30th December, 2022.
Key among other issues, Mivule cites glaring irregularities in the exercise including discrepancies in the voters’ register, membership, and voting time.
For example, Mivule who has amassed a wealth of experience in revitalising and managing an Alumni Association says that the requirement to be physically present at a specified time and on a specified venue would exclude thousands of potential voters who would already be upcountry for Christmas and the New Year festivities
“Participation in convocation elections has been restricted to physical presence at Makerere University Kampala yet our Alumni are residents all over the world,” Mivule wrote in an open letter making rounds on social media since last week.
He instead wants members to use the Annual General Meeting on 30th December to initiate the process of amending the constitution and provide for online voting instead of holding an election that he says would exclude the majority of the Convocation members.
Mivule’s grievances are backed by the majority of the candidates participating in the exercise according to a petition seen by this website.
Up to 31 candidates taking part in the exercise have also condemned the exercise and called out organisers to come clean.
Some of the candidates challenging the exercise include Charles Odongtho, Karuhanga X. Gerald, Bateeze Daniel, Kakongoro Joan, Mukula George Williams, Oguttu Aaron, Kwagala Isaac, Akello Phanice Mary, Sempijja Ivan, Muhumuza Jalia, Kamugo Bashir and Kibajjo Annet N.
Others are Nambuya Jennifer, Munyigwa Viola, Nteziryayo Deogratias, Dr. Lakisa Mercy Faith, Kabanda Fredrick, Musiimire Ezra, Byakutangaza Ezra, Papa Were Salim, Bihemaiso Jacob, Nuwamanya Hillary, Nyangoma Pamerah, Kato Martins and Dr. Nankya Esther.
Musana Jafar, Akullu Emily, Kenyaba Christopher, Taliwaku Andrew Julian, Mulumba Peter Nelson, Shema Emmanuel and Ssekibuule Shafic are also part of the petition dated Wednesday December 28 and addressed to Secretary Convocation/Returning Officer, Makerere University Convocation, Convocation Secretariat Office, Makerere University denouncing the manner in which the whole process is being handled.
They claim the process has tainted the fairness of the exercise.
“To date, you have failed to display voters register on the notice board for scrutiny, update and verification by all stakeholders and the general public,” they wrote.
The candidates through their lawyers, Lukwago & Co. Advocates have also listed several other grounds, putting Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza, the returning officer for the polls on notice over discrepancies and mismatches in the voters’ register.
“The voters register being circulated electronically is full of discrepancies, mismatches, falsehoods and leaves out a number of qualified Members of the Convocation, as shown hereunder:
(i) Qualified Members of the Convocation are not captured on the voters roll thus disenfranchised. (A list is hereto attached and marked A) (ii) There are cases of multiple entries on the Register, for instance:
a) Entry numbers 4205 and 4206 namely Aheebwa Humphrey
appears twice with different receipt numbers 2496 and 5058”.
“b) Entry numbers 4329 and 1158 namely Kamugunguza Shiba appears on two lists with different receipt numbers 2456 and 2509”
“4346 (Kateregga Alex) appears on two lists
d) 4493 & 1151 (Parwoth Musdalifa) appears on two lists with
different receipts 2438 and 2495 e) 4498 and 83(Ssekindi Faizo) appears on two lists 2427 f) 4362 (Kizito Abbas) appears on two lists with different courses2425”
“g) 4530 (Yiga John Mary Joseph) appears twice 2490 h) 1154, 4521 Walusimbi Abbey appears twice 2498 and 2441 i) 4204, 559 Ahabwe Sedraq appears twice 2464 and 2517 I NANSUBUGA PRISCILLA receipt numbers 1300 and 1303”.
“NAMBALIRWA AMINA receipt numbers 1240 and 1242 1) NALUBWAMA JALIA receipt numbers 1188 and 1189 m) NALUGWA CAROLINE GRACE receipt number 1191 n) NAKATO LEONARD receipt numbers 144 and 1145 oJ NAKAYIMA FRANK receipt numbers 1150 and 1152 r) NIWAGABA NOBLE receipt numbers 1397 and 1398 s) NAYIGA GRACE receipt numbers 1358 and 1361 1) NASASIRA PHIONA receipt numbers 1332 and 1333 u) SERUWADA ABDUL receipt numbers 1671 and 1672”
“OPAH VICTOR receipt numbers 1569 and 1570 w) OWOMUGISHA GODLIVER receipt numbers 1587 and 1591 x) ODONGTHO IRENE FREDA receipt numbers 1487 and 1854”
“OBOTH ALEX receipt numbers 1469 and 1470 ql NYESIGA CHARLES receipt numbers 1459 and1450”, they wrote.
They also claim that many entries on the register in their possession lack vital particulars and details of the members ranging from full name, receipt number, course and year of graduation are not captured.
“There are persons who appear on the Members’ roll but have never graduated”.
Key among those listed as Members but never graduated include ABENITWE MANDFUL and OTIM SAMUEL, MUTESI HADIJAH a student of Mass Communication and Journalism registered on the roll as number 3063 with a receipt No. 4100.
Candidates say that such irregularities are grave and, not only, bound to unduly influence the result of the election but also disenfranchise the eligible voters.
In a joint letter, candidates have urged the Returning Officer to update and clean up the voters’ register to reflect the qualified and all paid up Members of the Convocation.
They also want authorities to halt the AGM and elections of the Executive Committee of Makerere University Convocation, by 29th December 2022 at 11:00 am, until the whole process is streamlined to ensure a free and fair election in compliance with the principles and provisions of the laws governing elections in Uganda.
Makerere University authorities didn’t reply to our request for a comment.
In fulfillment of Article XII Section 12.1 of the Convocation’s constitution, Buyinza has issued guidelines for the elections, stating that the election of office bearers will “be in the manner as determined by the Convocation Constitution”, adding that only fully paid-up members shall be eligible for election.
Buyinza says, “Nomination to any office on the Convocation Executive shall only be conducted at the meeting at which elections are to be conducted, and every nomination shall be proposed and seconded by members present”.
He has called on all persons who are interested in standing for the position of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson to express interest in writing to the Academic Registrar.
Buyinza said the Venue for the election would be the Auditorium of the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility (CTF), starting at 9:00 am.
He required all paid-up members to STRICTLY come with proof of payment of annual subscription/ a receipt issued by the Convocation Secretariat and their ORIGINAL National Identification.