BY AGATHA MUHAISE
The Arua guild elections put off
The Arua guild presidential elections have been put on hold after a first- year diploma student threw a spanner in the works and applied for the guild president position at Uganda Christian University, Arua Campus.
Felix Onzima, a theology diploma student, handed in an official application on October 3 to contest for the seat of guild president of the university, contrary to Article 27(b) of the guild Constitution of Uganda Christian University.
The article requires a student to have completed at least one academic year in the university before he/she can qualify to stand for this post.
However, with the endorsement of the UCU Arua Campus chaplaincy and the head of department of Theology at Arua, Onzima was able to go through the Electoral Commission vetting, only to be stopped at the administration level, which cited violation of the article.
In an interview with The Standard, Onzima said that beside the reports that he is a first-year student, he had alreadyspentoneacademic year at the university while pursuing a certificate in theology before he advanced to the diploma.
“It is also during this time that I was working as the guild legal officer. Unless it is my ghost that was doing all this for a year, I consider that an academic year is undeniable experience,” he said.
Onzima, who said he loves UCU and has good plans for the university, added that his case was comparable to that of Peter Tabani at the Main Campus.
Tabani contested for guild presidency at the Main Campus several years ago after completing a two- year diploma in theology before he qualified for a Bachelor’s in Divinity.
However, in this case, the committee sat and agreed that he qualified to be guild president as a continuing student.
However, the Dean of Students at Arua Campus, Denis Ruhama Onzima, dismissesthiscomparison, saying the circumstances are not the same.
“Peter Tabani had completed a two-year diploma course and was advancing to second year in his bachelor’s course. Yet Onzima never finished the so-called certificate before he advancedtothediploma,” Ruhama Onzima said.
“Felix Onzima only completed two semesters of the certificate and then did Mature Age entry exams for Mukono to qualify for the diploma. A certificate course takes six semesters to complete. Therefore, he is considered a drop-out,” he stated.
Other disciplinary issues
The refusal to step down is not the only conflict that Onzima has been involved in. DOSA Ruhama informed The Standard that he was even given an official letter disqualifying him from the race, and the university police received reports that he was mobilizing students to strike in protest of this decision.
“Felix Onzima was summoned twice and given letters to this effect, but he refused to appear before the Disciplinary Committee, which speaks volumes about his discipline and what type of leader he would make,” Ruhama explained.
Onzima denied ever receiving the letters summoning him to appear before the Disciplinary Committee. He said that instead he received unofficial threats from the police. The guild elections have since been put off until further notice.
Moment of zen for Nansambu
Emmanuel Nansambu, a second-year student of Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration, is the new guild boss of Uganda Christian University, Kampala Campus. He beat Jeremiah Ssekabira, a second- year law student.
During the first elections held on November 4, the two candidates drew with a total of 214 votes for
both. Another election was held on November 11, when Nansambu finally emerged victorious with a total of 307 vote, 88 votes over Ssekabira who scored 219 votes. Eighteen votes were invalid.
Edgar Baguma in the office of students affairs attributted the increased number of voters in the second election to more time that was given for mobilisation.
Guild officials swearing-in
“I…do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of Uganda Christian University students guild. I will bear true faith and allegence to the same…” recapitulatdtheexcited new guild officals of the Main Campus.
This was during the swearing-in ceremony on November 17 during the community hour at Nkoyoyo Hall in
Mukono. The event was presided over by Dr John Senyonyi, the vice chancellor.
The candidates, starting with Guild President Prisca Amongin,weretaken through two oaths of allegiance in which they promised to take their leadership responsibility with honesty, no resentments, and to the best of their abilities.