Ratibu Awufu, a third year student of law and the former Speaker of the Students Government at the Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU) main campus resigned immediately after the government was dissolved by the University Coordinator with all the hopes of becoming the next Guild President of the university.
According to Chapter 10 of the Islamic University Students Union (IUSU) constitution, the Speaker automatically becomes the interim Guild President after the government is dissolved. Awufu, however, forewent all those privileges and resigned because an interim Guild President cannot contest for any post of guild elections according to the same chapter.
Awufu had been part of the 2018-2019 government and wanted to lead that of 2019-2020.
Awufu got big crowds wherever he moved on his campaign trail. Among them were large groups of excited girls. The elections that were held on March 17, 2019, left many in shock as Muhammad Ali Muhamood, a Somali student who seemed to lack sufficient support during campaigns, emerged victorious. On voting day many of the girls chose to stay back in their hostels, leaving Awufu helpless.
Muhamood, a second year student got 765 against Awufu’s 735. The difference was only 30 votes. The third contestant, Muhammad Mulindwa, also in second year, got 548 votes.
While announcing the results, the Chairperson Electoral Commission, advised the defeated contestants to accept the results and show willingness to work with the winners, but Awufu rejected the results.
Awufu wrote in a petition: “Nursing students were denied chance to vote yet they are students of IUIU so the elections were not free and fair.”
The university tribunal, chaired by the university secretary, Rashid Kisambwe, heard the petition for two days and issued the verdict on Monday 25th March. According to the verdict, the petitioners failed to present evidence on the claims they gave and therefore the petition was dismissed.
Transparency was observed-coordinator
In an interview, Dr. Sulait Kabali, the Dean of Students at IUIU, said that the elections were a bit delayed in order to ensure transparency.
He called upon the victors to unite all the students including those who did not support them.
I will start by uniting all students – Muhamood
Muhamood, the president elect, promised to work with all students and include them in the decision making on the matters that affect them.
Other candidates elected include Nabilah Muhammed Saidi as Lady Vice Guild President and Ally Manje as Sports Minister.
Had Awufu not contested the results he would perhaps get a ministerial appointment. That protest effectively ends his political journey at IUIU.
What students say about the elections?
JuliaNambuya (second year, Education): The elections of 2019 at IUIU were free and fair compared to other universities. veryone was free to vote a candidate of their wish.
Racheal Khainza (second year, Law): The election was illegal and unconstitutional. Some students voted more than once. Muhamood Ali even transported students from the Kampala campus to come and participate in the elections here.
Joy Nadunga (first year, Education): The elections were dominated by sectarianism Most of students gave out there votes depending on tribe, race, wealth… Muhammad Ali (an international student) emerged victorious but it was not easy. There was no rigging. The results each one got were their real votes.
The IUIU held elections in all its four campuses between February and March. The Guild President of main campus is the overall Chairman of all the presidents, according to the IUSU constitution.