An ethnographic Study of a Makerere Guild Presidential Race

muk guild

A Makerere University Guild Presidential Candidate is carried shoulder high by supporters during a rally on campus . Internet Photo

In May 2011, I took the trouble to do an in-depth ethnographic study of a Makerere University Guild Presidential race, and wrote a 49-page report out of it! (Someone had told me then that my passion for Politics, Leadership and governance issues would make me do crazy things. If she was right, this was one of those). My interest was to draw parallels from an insignificant political race such as a student election to a national one. The intrigue, craziness and nastiness I saw was nothing like I had ever seen, even in REAL elections which have lots of perks after winning. I conclude my observation by saying that if political processes among and by young people at a progressive and egalitarian academic Institution like MUK can be this crazy, should we expect them to behave any better when they become national leaders, which they mostly ultimately become? (Mao, Kagingo, Mayombo, etc- Most Makerere student leaders have gone on to become prominent national leaders in their later lives).

I’ve decided to dump the whole thing here for you to download if you are interested and have the time (It’s 5 years a go, so being older and wiser, I winced over some mangled phrases on rereading the report but decided not to change a thing. I like its raw, sometimes naive nature) . The winner of that race, Onekalit Dennis went on with national politics and narrowly lost the  Kitgum Municipality MP race to FDC iron-lady Hon. Beatrice Anywar in the just concluded 2016 Parliamentary elections. In this report I did write a great deal about him as a candidate, especially how inarticulate he was, a problem compounded by has lack of charisma. My sense was that he won exclusively because he was the FDC flag bearer, a party then (and now) wildly popular among university youth, especially its charismatic leader and Museveni nemesis Kiiza Besigye.

If anyone can trace for me the other candidates profiled in this report, Kindly let me know. I did interview most of them during that race and many were quiet colourful characters. I would certainly be interested in knowing what they are now doing with there lives now. They are :

  • Denis Oneka (FDC), Winner with 1,990 votes
  • Charles Batte (DP), runner up with 1,980 votes. (Currently a high flying young Doctor and globetrotting social entrepreneur  – I had tipped him to win the race, he was unbelievably smart even at that young age; so no surprises that he is very successful).
  • Muhindo Moris of NRM ,  1,230
  • Kirya Deogratius (INDIP), 899 votes.
  • Kawalya Hakim of Conservative Party, 467 votes
  • Tumusiime Mark, (INDIP), 92 votes, and
  • Jagwe Musa ( IPC/SDP)  78 votes. 

Download the report here: MUK guild election

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