In the year 2019 when People Power first surfaced in students’ politics, it registered a massive landslide 85% victory across all universities in the country. In Makerere, the victor candidate, Kateregga Julius and the second runner up, Mukisa Joshua William were People Power affiliates. Similarly in Kyambogo and Ndejje University, Tundulu Jonathan and Byron Luswatta won respectively.
After realising that the 2021 general election has drawn close, the ruling NRM government has come up with frustrative measures to suffocate the will of students. The Kabale University guild elections have already given them a way forward as far as getting the ballot in their favour is concerned. Just yesterday, the People Power principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine was notified of an arch plot by the regime in which candidates identifying with the movement were to be frustrated.
An ugly precedent was already set in last year’s Uganda National Students’ Association (UNSA) elections where People Power candidates were denied nomination and participation. Makerere feminist, Siperia Mollie and Tundulu Jonathan were openly denied nominations. The election itself was dramatically brought close to the Special Forces Command (SFC) barracks in Kisubi, miles away from the earlier communicated Masaka venue.
Security operatives have been deployed in all universities to ensure that candidates identifying with People Power are not anywhere close to winning. Bobi Wine says security meetings have been held to discuss the fate of student politicians affiliated to People Power. “In many cases, RDCs have held meetings with prospective candidates to bribe them and discourage them from running under People Power,” part of Bobi Bobi Wine’s Facebook statement reads. “In other cases, election regulations have been amended to block our candidates! In most of the universities, candidates have been barred from wearing the Red Berets or having it on their posters,” the statement adds.
A high profile source in the Kyambogo administration tipped us of a scheduled Sunday meeting in which the university council is to agree with security officials not to hold elections if People Power candidates persist with using red berets branded posters. “The elections are likely to be further postponed if Mbaziira John and his People Power team do not surrender the red berets,” the source told us off record.