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Okot Francis Emerges as the New UNSA President

Ivan Sajjabi

Originating from the Acholi land, Okot Francis shattered barriers, rising to claim the esteemed position of UNSA President in the recently concluded Uganda National Students Association elections held at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi.

H.E Okot Francis currently serves as the Guild President of Gulu University, a role that granted him the position of delegate during the UNSA 34th council. Overcoming stiff competition, he ascended to the presidency of UNSA, marking a significant achievement in his leadership journey.

His victory was fueled by substantial support from the Northern region and the West Nile block, crucial in light of the irregularities and uncertainties that clouded this election. Amidst challenges and unclear circumstances, Francis’s triumph was pivotal, reshaping the landscape of UNSA’s leadership.
Kiyuba Jenah’s assumption of the interim speaker position, amidst controversy over the legality of her appointment, was marked by unbecoming conduct during council sessions. Demonstrating a lack of professionalism, she resorted to abrasive behavior, raising her voice and engaging in verbal confrontations with fellow council members. Her actions extended to unfair treatment of certain candidates, notably Cadre Omujuguju Mufakinanye Moses, who sought the position of finance secretary but was unjustly denied the opportunity to address the voters, highlighting a concerning aspect of the election process.
The council proceedings commenced on December 27th with the arrival of delegates at NALI, where accreditation procedures were conducted. Subsequently, sessions encompassed lectures on patriotism and the rendition of revolutionary songs, setting the stage for the upcoming UNSA elections.

The composition of UNSA delegates is a diverse amalgamation, consisting of four District Executive Committee (DEC) members elected from school committees and institutions within each district. Additionally, four university leaders from the students’ guild—encompassing the guild president, speaker, a female guild leader, and a representative for individuals with disabilities—contributed to the vibrant representation.

However, the anticipated election scheduled for December 30th, 2023, faced unforeseen delays when the ballot papers arrived at 10:00 PM. Consequently, voting commenced at 11:00 PM, culminating in the declaration of results at 4:00 AM, followed by the subsequent swearing-in ceremony.
The journey to victory for President Okot was no easy feat, encountering formidable opposition from various fronts. Hon Itungo Joan, representing Uganda Christian University (UCU), purportedly wielded significant financial backing, allegedly affiliated with the NRM party, aiming to sway the election results. Despite her well-resourced campaign, Joan’s efforts fell short, unable to alter the course of the election. Notably, her camp comprised strategists such as former National Affairs Secretary UNSA, Honourable Asimwe Hafashimana, highlighting the depth of influence and strategy deployed during the electoral contest.

Twaha Galiwango, hailing from St Lawrence University, also showcased financial strength, albeit marred by organizational shortcomings within his campaign. Despite significant expenditures before hitting the ground, the lack of effective organization impeded his progress in the race for leadership.

Babinga Gonzaga from Makerere University and Owera Emmanuel from Busitema University entered the electoral arena with varying approaches. Gonzaga failed to gain momentum, while Owera Emmanuel, despite an early and active campaign phase, encountered diminishing visibility as the election neared its climax. Their individual endeavors in the race, though promising initially, failed to sustain the necessary traction to challenge Okot’s surge towards victory.

At the forefront of organizational prowess within the Okot camp stood the strategic minds of former Makerere University guild aspirant Oremo Odwee (OO), alongside the contributions of Watmon Derrick and Loki Sam Willy. This team rallied behind the powerful agenda encapsulated in the slogan ‘The redemption you can trust.’ This resonating slogan was born from the chaos and disarray of the preceding National Executive Committee (NEC), marked by internal strife, discord, and a lack of coherent objectives. The departing 33rd NEC left a void with no substantial achievements to its credit.

In other notable victories, Ikyiriza Gold from Makerere University secured the position of Vice President at UNSA, poised to succeed the outgoing Vice President, Her Excellency Mutesi Hadija, renowned as the visionary force behind Inspire Uganda. Gold’s win signifies a transition toward fresh leadership within UNSA’s executive structure.

Stepping into crucial roles, Samuel Semakabanya clinched the Secretary position dedicated to persons with disabilities, while Nuwasima Sandrine ascended to the Deputy Speaker’s role. Breaking conventions, Twekambe Kabaruli, a distinguished blogger from Kyegegwa and the current speaker for Kagadi district, secured victory as the Secretary for Information and Publicity at UNSA. Kabaruli’s triumph serves as a beacon of inspiration within the blogger community, signifying the potential for influence and impact in modern communication.

Exemplifying determination, young humble girl Atuheire Domitira, hailing from the Kanungu District Executive Committee, seized the Assistant General Secretary position at UNSA. However, the DEC for DEC agenda faltered for Kambeiza Panthius, a member of the Kampala district executive committee, losing to Kobusingye Winnie, the incumbent guild president of Mult-tech Business School.
Remarkably, Hon. Laker Sharon Peace emerged unopposed, securing the role of female representative to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). Her uncontested victory positions her as a key advocate within the higher education landscape, ready to champion pertinent issues impacting female students at the national level
*UGANDA NATIONAL STUDENTS ASSOCIATION 34th NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.*
President- H.E Okot Francis
Vice President- H.E Ikyiriza Gold
Speaker- Rht Hon. Wasswa Christopher

Deputy Speaker- Rht Hon Nuwasiima Sandrine

General Secretary- Hon. Muhumuza Edwin
Assistant General Secretary- Hon. Atuheire Domitira
Secretary for finance- Hon. Kobusingye Winnie

Secretary for National Affairs- Hon. Komakech Doctor

Secretary international Affairs- Hon. Namanya Sharif

Secretary female affairs- Hon. Beinomugisha Mable

Secretary for Information and Publicity- Hon Twekambe Kabaruli

Secretary for persons with disabilities- Hon. Semakabanya Samuel

Secretary inter-schools affairs- Hon. Arinaitwe Reagan

*REPRESENTATIVES TO NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (NCHE)*

*Male*
Suubi Isaac

*Female*

Laker Sharon peace

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