April 15, 2013

Kabale University Students Hold VC Hostage over Guild Elections

Charles Sendegeya, Dean of Students Pleads with students to give way for the Vice chancellor
Charles Sendegeya, Dean of Students Pleads with students to give way for the Vice chancellor

Kabale University was a scene of drama on Sunday after angry students took their vice chancellor Prof. Joy Kwesiga hostage over the controversial guild elections. It all started when Professor Kwesiga intervened after supporters of the rival guild presidential candidates blocked the Electoral Commission from announcing the poll results citing malpractice. Kwesiga intervened after students threatened to lynch Charles Sendegeya, the university dean of students accusing him of influencing the poll results.  The students held Kwesiga hostage for two hours and prevented her from leaving the guild office.

They demanded an explanation from the university administration over alleged ballot stuffing, bribery and illegal extension of the voting deadline from 5pm to 5:30pm. However, Kwesiga insisted that a meeting of the top university administration had decided that the polls results be declared and advised the aggrieved parties to appeal against the results. Kwesiga ordered the Electoral Commission to announce the poll results and advised the aggrieved students to use the right channels to appeal against the results. As a result, the Electoral Commission announced the poll results showing that Edwin Izaara garnered 821 votes against 788 votes polled his rival Tom Rwomushana.

Student Besiege Vice Chancellor Prof. Kwesiga at Guild Office
Student Besiege Vice Chancellor Prof. Kwesiga at Guild Office

This didn’t do down well with the supporters of Rwomushana. Led by Ronald Mulindwa, the chief agent of Rwomushana, the angry students blocked Kwesiga from leaving the guild office. It took the intervention of police to rescue Kwesiga from captivity by the students. The angry students pitched camp at the Guild president’s office where the ballot boxes were kept for safe custody. Charles Sendegeya, the Dean of students says that the university administration is willing to consider the grievances of the students dissatisfied with the polling results. He also admits that 11 pre-ticked ballot in favor Edwin Izaara were found stuffed in the boxes, but denies the university had a hand in the electoral fraud.

Tom Rwomushana, the loser of the guild election says that he is going to seek the nullification of the poll results because he has sufficient evidence pinning his opponent and his supporters on a number of election malpractices.  The ballot boxes are now being kept in the office of the vice chancellor for safe custody. Bosco Arop, the Kabale district Police commander says Police will remain deployed at the University until the situation returns to normal.

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