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In the recent past, University guild races have been highly competitive among candidates subscribing to main stream political parties, the NRM, FDC and DP, although stiff competition has been mainly amongst NRM and FDC leaning candidates.
Why has the trend changed now? Have the mainstream Political Parties lost ground in Public Universities?
In the recent concluded elections at Makerere University; Julius Katerega subscribing to “People Power” pressure group won the election, while Jonathan Tundulu won the race as Guild President of Kyambogo University was linked to “People Power” and the most recent addition being Brian Luswata as guild President of Nkumba University. Brian Luswata, after being declared winner said that, he identified with “People Power” of Hon Robert Kyagulanyi and was quoted saying “we are the future generation, we need to work for this country.”
Young people are no longer moved by great ideas and long speeches. They are instead sensationally running with the trend and brand of Hon Robert Kyagulanyi’s “People Power” movement run under the umbrella of populism, simple and short ideas that catch the hearts of people; This is what is driving young people and the University students have proved not to be any different.
The risk to this generation is that excitement as opposed to ideology is unsustainable. What characterizes the “People Power” pressure group? It has not been registered as a Political Party yet, it has no known ideology or values but student leaders in Universities as well as those in Secondary and Primary schools are clamoring to be identified with it.
If this is the trend in the mobilization for political office, then the crop of leaders elected into power will be lacking, political parties ought to carry out civic education activities to spear head political education for especially the youth to avoid being manipulated by leaders who are riding on their emotions for political office.
When the student leadership of a University is decided by a wave of excitement and irrational choices, the future of leadership remains at stake. In 2012, Makerere guild campaigns were characterized by strong candidates with one Kata Ivan who had a followership which was more of the people power like wave. It was not surprising he won the election but before his term could end, fled the University with over Ug.Shs 90 Milliion without even graduating.
The leadership on a National level needs to put measures of mentoring young leaders otherwise if the wave hits, young stars will even be recruited into terrorism or even worse pressure groups.