The National Unity Platform’s (NUP) official flag bearer Margaret Nattabi has been disqualified by the Makerere University Electoral Commission for planning a physical activity that resulted in the beating of a college student during the exercise.
Sulaiman Namwoza, an independent candidate with NUP leanings, was also disqualified by the commission.
The 89th Electoral Commission’s chairman, Levi Tshilumba, stated the following in a letter to all students dated April 6, 2023:
”This is to inform the Makerere University students’ body that Guild President aspirants Nattabi Margaret (Complex hall) and Namwoza Sulaiman (Michael Hall) have been disqualified from the 89th Guild Presidential race”
The reason these two candidates had been dropped from the race, according to Tshilumba, was that on the evening of April 5, 2023, they organized a “kimeza,” a physical campaign, at Mitchell Hall. This activity was prohibited by the university.
The commission claims that this behavior caused a fight that resulted in the beating and serious injury of a student named Robert Sserunjogi.
“Both Nattabi Margaret and Namwona Sulaiman acknowledged that they participated in the “kimeza” of the night of April 5, 2023 from 08:00pm to 09:00 pm at Mitchell Hal. The participation of Nattabi Margaret and Namwoza Sulaiman in this event is contrary to the Makerere University Students Guild Statute 2022l,” said Tshilumba.
Student elections at the university must be virtual, unless the university council decides differently, according to section 10(b) of the statute. This action, according to Tshilumba, violates the Makerere University Students Guild Constitution 2022.
“Article 67 1) b) which stipulates that Elections at the University shall be virtual unless otherwise dictated by the University Council,” Tshilumba said in a letter that was copied to Vice Chancellor, Dean of Students, Chief Security Officer and the two aspirants
After a student was killed in an altercation during the campaigns for guild elections in 2022, the Makerere University Council decided to outlaw physical guild elections at the university.
Following the passing of Micheal Betungura Bewatte, a law student at Uganda Christian University’s Kampala campus, the elections were put on hold in July. Betungura had gathered support for his longtime buddy Tukamushaba, the party’s flag bearer, at Makerere alongside his FDC colleagues.
The University Council subsequently decided that moving forward, student leaders will be elected digitally and outlawed any future physical guild elections at the University. Before the committee even began looking into Betungura’s death, this was already decided.