Late last year, Duncan Barasha was elected to the office of the Guild President after defeating three other opponents in a hotly contested race. The Standard recently caught up with him on a range of issues.
Qn: Who is Duncan Barasha?
Ans: I am a God fearing person who serves to please Him. I went to Aria Primary School the current Daffodils in Kololo. I later I joined Kiira College Butiki in Jinja for O-level and St Lawrence Citizens High School for my A-level.
Qn: You come out as a man of dignity, why?
Ans: I used to be a very stubborn, big-headed boy. I once refused to talk to my mother for a week after she had annoyed me. And in O-level, I used to break the law, for example, by jumping over the school fence to go for discos. However, at A-level in St Lawrence the environment started shaping me up when I became a prefect (Minister without Portfolio).
St Lawrence also had a special way of organizing your character. In St Lawrence, I learnt that someone had to carry a white piece of tissue, hanky and white socks.
I also learnt that if you are to go out for dinner, you should ask a girl out and actually buy them a present. It is one thing that my current girlfriend and best friend still says she fell in love with me because of the way I handle things.
Qn: Have you ever been bullied in school?
Ans: When I had just joined Kiira College Butiki in Senior one, some big boy came and told me that my new sandals, bucket and pillow were his and grabbed them and walked away. There was nothing I could do apart from crying. I felt like chasing after my parent’s car but they were long gone. I suffered afterwards since I had to stay without sandals but I’m thankful that incident and experience taught me how to survive in hard times. I learnt how to relate with both bad and good persons.
Qn: How long have you been in a relationship with your girlfriend?
Ans: We have been dating for two years and I have big intentions of taking our relationship to another level. I don’t believe that people should be in a relationship without future plans of marriage. It’s my prayer that one day I will ask her to marry me and she will say yes.
Qn: What is your view about love relationships among university students?
Ans: It’s a beautiful and healthy thing for everyone, although Satan is successfully managing to destroy it.
Today, people are no longer sure about what they are and can’t also discover the other person they want to make their partner. Yet knowing yourself is the first step towards building a good relationship.
They can’t also tell the difference between love and lust. Otherwise, the university would be the best place to build relationships and important character in relationships such as patience, kindness, praying for each other and believing in each other without having to spend a lot of money.
Qn: You were once a student at MUBS. When and how did you get there?
Ans: After the S.6 vacation, I enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at MUBS. Shortly after that I went for internship in an account industry and I earned some good money. I was later retained by that logistics company. And when I started earning, I forgot all about books. Education became useless to me. I convinced myself that whoever was in school was working to get where I was already.
Remember my parents were still paying tuition for someone who was no longer interested in school.
I kept on working hard and being promoted but after three years, I got fed up with the job and quit.
After quitting, I started up a bar and restaurant in Luzira with the help of my dad and my signature dish was rabbit meat.
I loved Belgian-le-rabbit. But soon I would also get bored again and I felt like I wanted to travel around the country to see the different places. I spent over six months travelling with my friends and other tourists I would just go by the wind.
Qn: So when did it ever occur to you that you should go back to school?
Ans: One day my dad sat me down and lectured me about the life’s challenges and the importance of being educated. He explained that when I used to leave for school, he would borrow money to send me to the good schools and when I was away, they would feed on posho and beans for some good months. He also told me that it’s not easy to fit in a society of the educated if you are not.
So after weighing dad’s words, I felt the guilt weighing heavily on me. In 2016 I decided to return to school to make my dad happy but today I also feel good about myself. Sometimes whenever I got promotions at work, I would also feel like if I the necessary papers, I could fly which later also pushed me back to school.
Qn: How did you end up at UCU?
Ans: It was the only other university with a course international business after MUBS. I didn’t want to return to MUBS to recap the memories.
Qn: Who is your role model?
Ans: My father, Pierson Barasha and Uncle Charles Katambira. We grew up on a policeman’s budget and that means he was hard-working. I realised this when I entered the job world.
Qn: Where did you pick the inspirations to contest for guild presidency?
Ans: I was partly inspired by Pius the former guild president, who one day told me that I could make a good leader. He wasn’t exactly my friend; maybe I could call him a seat-mate in the dining hall during meals.
At first, I didn’t want to become a guild president. I wanted to finish my studies, get my papers and move on. But about this time when Pius inspired me, I decided to pray to God to do what he wanted me to do. I also kept on going for overnight prayers. I remember moving away from the crowd during one of the overnight when a voice said “Someone will come to you and say something to you: And you will know I am the one speaking to you” and indeed that happened when the congregation screamed something that communicated to me. At that point, there were only two days remaining to start picking the forms and I didn’t have any money but somehow with the support of friends we raised the nomination fee.
Qn:How did you kick off with the campaigns?
Ans:We started with social media for our campaigns. I didn’t intend to use a lot of money which I did not have so with the support of my friends Derain, APass, Martha Kay and many others, we decided to exploit social media.
I also told a few of my family members and not my dad because I knew he wouldn’t buy the idea thinking it would distract me from getting a first class.
Qn: What are your experiences so far in the new office?
Ans: I think it’s quite hard to manage certain situations. Some people don’t know how to handle office and how to approach certain issues. There is, therefore, need for student leaders to equip themselves with management skills. And if there is something I would do about this challenge, it would be having guild officials undertake management training before getting into office. Some people don’t even know how to address others. You send someone an email and if you are lucky to get a response it’s minus proper salutation. People should know how to respond to emails.
Qn: Why have you chosen to cut your foreign trips?
Ans: Considering that the budget keeps reducing every year, I saw it fit to transfer the money for trips to more important guild projects. I also want to be as modest as possible. One trip is enough for me.
Qn: How do you balance books and office?
Ans: I put first things first. I pay attention to my notebook, follow my daily schedule. An organised life works miracles for me as well. I set time for myself and make sure I do that particular thing in that very allocated time period.
Qn: Any piece of advice to students?
Ans: Make sure that every minute wasted is not regretted and every word that comes out of your mouth is not regretted (Philippians 4:8)