National Unity Platform leader Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, has sent a congratulatory message to party candidate Alionzi Lawrence, aka Dangote, who was on Wednesday evening declared the winner of the Makerere University Guild Elections.
Edrine Nsobanyi, the Makerere University Electoral Commission Chairperson, declared Alionzi winner after he garnered 5839 votes to beat off his National Resistance Movement-NRM rival, Hussein Ibra who garnered 2079 votes.
The Forum for Democratic Change-FDC candidate, Justus Tukamushaba came third with 1758 votes, followed by Blessious Namirembe with 359 votes, Calton Muyinda with 238 votes, Ronald Mugisa with 106 votes, Edward Nalwango with 37 votes, Honest Natumanya with 24 votes. While Nsobanyi had earlier told URN that there were more than 270000 eligible voters, only 10,440 managed to cast their votes.
“Our own comrade Alionzi Lawrence aka Dangote, all the way from Arua (West-Nile) was decisively elected 88th Guild President of Makerere University. Thank you Gallant Makerereans for rejecting the regime’s blackmail and trusting this brother. Congratulations!” Bobi Wine tweeted.
The students also voted for their School Guild representatives, Halls Guild representatives, College Guild council members, Chairpersons of college councils, students Guild Tribunal, students Debating Union, and students Games union among other positions.
But the university’s maiden online guild elections were hit by technical hitches, with many students unable to vote candidates of their choice.
Some of the aspirants also said the system was not transparent, accusing the university electoral commission of not guiding the students through the voting process.
Ms Sharon Nassiwa, a student from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said the system’s glitches frustrated her voting.
“The online elections are not easy because the network is on and off. I started to vote at around 12pm, I tried about 10 times but the system could not allow me. All it was bringing was invalid email, invalid student’s number yet these are the things I used to register for the elections,” Ms Nassiwa lamented.
Muzafalu Kabuulwa, one of those who contested for the position of Guild College Representative, said many of his supporters failed to vote because they could not access the portal.
“I am really discouraged by the whole process, many of my supporters have failed to access the portal, and some are being told that they finished voting”, a humble and scared Muzafalu told URN. But Nsobanyi defended the election process and described it as free, fair, and transparent.
“We had a very effective electoral process, it has been a very free fair, and transparent election we have had a very peaceful election and this is what we have already wished for, as students of Makerere as our theme states that we shall hold a free fair, and participatory electoral process, today we have elected our leaders at all positions, we had a good turn up, it has never happened in Makerere”, Nsobanyi said
There were also tense moments outside the tally center at Professor Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility as the Electoral Commission tried to push away hundreds of students who had gathered to show support for their favorite candidates as well as witness the vote counting. But the situation was normalized by the Police and UPPF officers manning the tally center.
Only a few members of the University administration led by the dean of students and some University council members, one representative of each of the Guild candidates as well as members of the students Guild Electoral commission were allowed inside the tally center. Another tense moment occurred shortly before the announcement of the final results when the entire University was plunged into darkness resulting from the nationwide outage causing a commotion outside the tally center as hundreds of students who had assembled to await results suspected foul play. The electoral chairperson stepped out and declared the results with the help of automobile lights.
Dangote replaces Shamim Nambasa. Speaking to his supporters after his declaration Alionzi said that although his term is going to be short because it was delayed by the suspension of the elections, he will make sure the period he is going to serve will be full of action.
The initial elections were suspended in July a few hours before the polling date after the death of Micheal Betungura Bewatte, a former law student at Uganda Christian University, Kampala campus. Betungura had joined his FDC counterparts at Makerere to rally support for his old-time friend Tukamushaba, the party’s flagbearer. He was stabbed to death prompting management to suspend the guild elections. The university has since banned physical elections.