By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU Main Campus - With the economy now fully open after two years of lockdown ochestrated by COVID-19, many activities are beginning to get back to normalcy including traditional University activities. Many Universities tend to elect guild leaders at this period of time and with some having released election roadmaps, the main question in the minds of potential candidates is how to win an election in a university like KIU.
At KIU, the roadmap for college and Guild Union elections is already up and euphoria is beginning to gather as some potential candidates have begun declaring their interests. What seems to be itching the would-be aspirants is how to go about everything that leads to victory.
Unlike sporting encounters, winning an election is somewhat a tricky process. When it comes to a university of diverse nationality and culture like KIU, it becomes more tricky but, so many people have made it look easier over the years.
Since it's inception in 2001, KIU has had over 20 Guild Presidents and so many college and school representatives. All these were entrusted by majority of the students in different periods but for the same old cause.
Jacob Musiimenta, the current Guild President had one of the toughest election contests compared to the last three regimes. He beat his friend and classmate Ronald Karuhanga to become president in 2020, having emerged among the best four in the school of law to earn a ticket to the KIU Guild Parliament before facing off with Karuhanga for KIU's most supreme student's office. Musiimenta argues that winning an election precedes winning the hearts of the voters.
"To win an election means to win the hearts and minds of students and you do that by associating yourself with the challenges they face. You show that you are part of them, you face the same problems together," Musiimenta said.
"You have to act humble, electorates prefer humble people to the arrogant ones," he added.
The president also urged candidates to be mindful of their associates. He said that one should always avoid associating with people who are either hated or carriers of hatred and mistrust.
"You have to be cautious with the people you associate yourself with. If you associate with the hated ones, you follow suit," he noted.
"Trust and believe in yourself, have a positive mind of winning. Be with the capability to overcome challenges along the way and don't reveal every step you take to everyone, act in a clandestine manner," he advised.
Like Jacob Musiimenta, the 2018-2019 Guild President Jasper Ariinda had a tough challenge but proper moblisation at college level saw him through. Ariinda deployed good and dependable strategists at college level in addition to his foresight in choosing highly popular flag bearers in different schools and colleges. He believes that these can be used by everyone to succeed.
"Mobilisation at college level and ensuring a careful selection of MPs at college level is equally important for a would-be Guild President at KIU as well as having good strategists and mobilisers who are able to predict which MP wins at college level," Ariinda expounded.
When ever the word elections or contensting for a position as big as college representative or Guild President is mentioned, the question about how much money one has tends to arise. This question is asked even in communities beyond the university. The money factor is a crucial one in every attemp of leadership but according to Ariinda, it isn't everything.
"Money is key, but it is not everything," he said.
Unlike other universities in Uganda, KIU practises an electoral college system of choosing the Guild President. The President must first win at college level before contesting for Guild President where the candidate with majority legislators emerges winner.
This year, KIU goes to polls after two years due to COVID-19. The elections for college and school representatives in the Guild Union has been scheduled for 4th April 2022 while that of the Guild President will take place on 11th April 2022.