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INAUGURAL MAKERERE GUILD DEBATE: Making Sense of the Guild Race.

Ruth Nsubuga                                                                 Doreen

Moderator of the day

Makerere University made history on Sunday 26th March, when it held its first ever guild debate, keeping pace with the precedence set by the National Debate in 2016. The debate was organized by the University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) and the Konrad Adenaur Stiftung Foundation. However, groundbreaking as the event was, it was tarnished by perpetual late coming and hooliganism but the hooliganism can be forgiven since Makerere Students can sometimes really be passionate people. Public Relations Officer of the guild, Mr. Abbas Kizito, blamed the late coming on misinformation of time; though the debate was communicated to start at midday, it was indeed meant to start at 3pm. The FDC candidate, Mr. Kato Paul, missed out on the debate claiming he had pressing issues to deal with in Entebbe.

Below are some of the excerpts from the debate:

The Moderator, Mr. Ivan Rugambwa, a media personality is invited and after reminiscing about his time at the Ivory Tower, he proceeds to invite the contestants who take up their seats amidst cheers and catcalls. Mr. Rugambwa then invites each to give an opening statement.

Agadi Lulican: Weewe! Weewe! I intend to restore the values of Makerere University. I intend to restore our prestigious identity.

Isabirye Isaac: It only takes a five minute conversation with a student of Makerere University to realize that there is massive loss of hope among the masses. We all know what kills a man comes from within. I intend to restore hope.

Kihiika Henry: You cannot see stars without night. Those that are trying to bring me down only make me stronger! (Applause).

Lakisa Mercy: (audience cheers loudly) all my fellow candidates have questions, I’m the answer! (Loud applause and cheer) I will tackle three main areas; student inclusiveness in decision making, feeding, academia and security, and third, social justice. I’m a professional cricket player and I’m a member of Uganda Union of Sports.

Ruth Nsubuga: I implore you to look at a person’s ability and not the party. (Wild cheers) When your bum itches, don’t scratch your eyes.

Kizito Emmanuel: I spent nine months in my mother’s womb so I can take anything! (Wild cheers) Do not consider political wavelength but consider potential. I’m the only candidate with a vision.

Doreen Alituha: I’m the iron lady! I will bring back integrity in Makerere. I will set up a committee of inquiry to attend to student’s issues

Zilitwawula Abdul: The voice of the people is the voice of God. I promise to be a servant of the Makerere students. I believe in servant leadership. I’m a sportsman and I participated in the All Africa games in rugby.

Ssentale Andrew: We shall call on all the spirits of our ancestors of Makerere and we will regain our glory.

Mr. Rugambwa: Thank you contestants for those remarks. Now let’s move on to the second part of this event. I will ask each candidate a question which they should answer satisfactorily. Firstly, Mr. Kizito, what do you think is the role of the guild president in Makerere?

Kizito Emmanuel: As stated in Article 22 of the guild constitution, a guild president is a leader, a caretaker and an intermediary between administration and students.

Mr. Rugambwa: Mr. Isabirye, corruption is a major problem in the country. Even in Makerere, the guild was accused of misappropriating Ushs120.000.000. What will you do to curb this vice, having been part of the guild before?

Isabirye Isaac: The misappropriation is regrettable. I would lead by example with my clean track record and ensure strict accountability. A report of our expenditure would be made and would be compared with the administration.

Mr Rugambwa: Miss Alituha, graduates are increasingly found wanting in skills in synch with the job market, how do you intend to change that?

Doreen Alituha: Everyone has an inherent skill or talent and these are the way for our generation. I would advocate for students to utilize colleges like Industrial Art and Music Dance and drama.

Mr Rugambwa: What about Social Sciences, Arts in Arts, are these relevant?

Doreen: Yes, very much! These can teach morals and they can be the backbone of an upright society.

Mr Rugambwa: Mr. Zilitwawula, how will you curb the problem of strikes?

Zilitwawula Abdul Karim: I will act as a bridge between the students and administration. Besides, we carry out demonstrations; civilized and headed by the guild president, not aimless strikes.

Mr. Rugambwa: We are not looking at types of strikes, we are looking at making strikes unnecessary.

Zilitwawula: Strikes can never be unnecessary if student’s issues are not dealt with. (Wild applause)

Mr. Rugambwa: Mr. Agadi, natural sciences or social sciences, which one needs more attention?

Agadi Lulican: There is no course without a purpose in this country. However, a little priority should be given to natural sciences since it is an in fact course and also its industry is in infant stage.

Mr. Rugambwa: Miss Nsubuga, how effective do you think the review of the fees policy was?

Ruth Nsubuga: It was not effective at all because only a few laptop student leaders were called and it was not publicized. Students need to know about it.

Mr. Rugambwa: So publicity was the problem?

Ruth: A policy passed in Makerere does not affect only the students, it affects even parents and the 60 policy is still not a favorable one.

Mr. Rugambwa: Mr. Ssentale, we have only three female candidates in the race, what will you do to increase female participation in Makerere politics?

Ssentale Andrew: What men can do, women can do better. (Female cheers). I would call for more female empowerment and encourage them not to fear office.

Mr Rugambwa: Miss Lakisa, what should or shouldn’t be the role of the state in running a university?

Lakisa Mercy: It should only be financial. Intellectual decisions should be left to the internal bodies.

Mr Rugambwa: But government has had to intervene in friction between students and administration, isn’t that a good thing?

Lakisa: They had to intervene in friction they caused themselves by frustrating and not paying the administration. So that’s why their role should be strictly financial.

Mr. Rugambwa: Mr. Kihiika, there is debate that the guild has continuously failed the students and is becoming obsolete.

Kihiika Henry: The fact that an interim government was installed in the first place shows that it is still important.

Mr. Rugambwa: There are claims that the guild is removed from the students, especially those not in halls.

Kihiika Henry: You see, a lot of politicking is what is forcing Makerere to lag behind. The guild is very much aware and concerned with every student

Mr. Rugambwa: Miss Nsubuga, how effective do you think the review of the fees policy was?

Ruth Nsubuga: It was not effective at all because only a few laptop student leaders were called and it was not publicized. Students need to know about it.

Mr. Rugambwa: So publicity was the problem?

Ruth: A policy passed in Makerere does not affect only the students, it affects even parents and the 60 policy is still not a favorable one.

Mr. Rugambwa: Mr Ssentale, we have only three female candidates in the race, what will you do to increase female participation in Makerere politics?

Ssentale Andrew: What men can do, women can do better. (Female cheers). I would call for more female empowerment and encourage them not to fear office.

Mr Rugambwa: Miss Lakisa, what should or shouldn’t be the role of the state in running a university?

Lakisa Mercy: It should only be financial. Intellectual decisions should be left to the internal bodies.

Mr Rugambwa: But government has had to intervene in friction between students and administration, isn’t that a good thing?

Lakisa: They had to intervene in friction they caused themselves by frustrating and not paying the administration. So that’s why their role should be strictly financial.

Mr. Rugambwa: Mr. Kihiika, there is debate that the guild has continuously failed the students and is becoming obsolete.

Kihiika Henry: The fact that an interim government was installed in the first place shows that it is still important.

Mr. Rugambwa: There are claims that the guild is removed from the students, especially those not in halls.

Kihiika Henry: You see, a lot of politicking is what is forcing Makerere to lag behind. The guild is very much aware and concerned with every student

Mr. Rugambwa: That brings us to the end of part two. Part three, the contestants ask each other questions. (Isabirye Isaac and Kihiika Henry decline to ask)

Lulican to Zilitwawula: What is your view about privatizing of halls?

Zilitwawula: I think it will affect us negatively. There will be increment in hall fees and this will affect struggling parents. (Applause)

Ruth to Kihiika: How will you handle the issue of missing marks?

Kihiika: That can only be done with unity of students. If they claim the system keeps crushing, then we have I.T students who can update it. (Strong applause and cheer).

Doreen to Ssentale: What will be your policies on disabled students?

Ssentale: My policies would be of inclusion, participation and implementation.

Doreen: Policies are okay but implementation is the problem. Look at buildings like Mary Stuart, no consideration for the disabled. What would you do about that?

Ssentale: I would revise the policies and make sure to pressure administration to implement. I’m an empathetic guy and I will not fail to come through for them.

Ssentale to Doreen: I have a question for you too (audience laughs) (eeh revenge oyee!) (More laughter). As a guild president you are a council member. We are soon getting a new Vice Chancellor. Do you think a new chancellor can be influential to the University?

Doreen: Definitely! I will vote for a student centered Vice Chancellor and my vote will be powerful! (Applause)

Kizito to Karim: Uganda has 87% unemployment rate. How will you help Miserere’s fresh graduates?

Zilitwawula: I wouldn’t say I will create jobs since the president himself has failed, but I encourage students to form associations of economic interest for example an association of agriculturalists, or business. Even after graduating, they shouldn’t abandon them. U can then share ideas and even lobby for support.

Lakisa to Kizito: Where do you derive your inspiration?

Kizito: I’m inspired by my desire to serve my fellow students. Politics is not a dirty game, it’s just played by dirty people. (Laughter and applause)

Zilitwawula to Isabirye: How do you think Makerere can get to the pinnacle and be number one in Africa?

Isabirye: By following its vision and mission statement.

Mr Rugambwa: Okay thank you candidates. You can go for a two minute interlude and return to finalize the event.

The next 2017 Guild Debate will be held on Monday 3rd April in the main hall.

Compiled by Ian Akatwijuka

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