The Kyambogo University voting for guild president and guild representative councillors and hall chairpersons for the year 2017-2018 was on Tuesday afternoon cancelled after the students turned violent following the failure of the electronic voting that the university had opted to use.
According to the letter to all students, signed by the acting dean of students Mildred Tibananuka, the new election date shall be announced after the consultation has been made with all stakeholders such as electoral commission and guild president.
Tibananuka told New Vision that the system had started well, from morning up to around mid-day when the machines jammed. She said the computers could no longer verify students and that students turned rowdy, others threatened destroy computers that were being used.
"By the time the voting was cancelled, over 4,000 students had voted," she stated, adding that usually vote turn out at the university is always below 10,000. The university has 22,000 students.
She said the electronic system of voting had been introduced by the university to ensure a free and fair election.
The university guild president, Lawrence Lugalavu, said it wasn't the appropriate time for Kyambogo to introduce e-voting, arguing that the university electoral commission could have used it as pilot in the election of lower posts like hall secretaries not the election of guild president.
He blamed the electoral commission for failure to detect the possible breakdown of the machines before the networks jammed.
On chaos, he defended the students; he said they were humble at first and after spending about two hours in long lines, some started shouting, turned rowdy and threatened to vandalise the computers.
Hamza Mukiibi, the university electoral commission general secretary in an interview with New Vision said a section of students had been opposed to the system since its introduction.
"I cannot rule out on the possible system that will be used in the next voting. But we shall first consult the stakeholders," he noted.
Mukiibi said the e-voting system emphasized transparency, although it was time consuming.
What guild candidates say
Patricia Kishemeire who is contesting on the university's guild president said the election cancellation can't affect the outcome of the next election. She called for calm among her supporters.
Micheal Ashaba said there's a possibility that some candidates and students will suspect a system hack down by some university technology experts. He called up the electoral commission and university administration to organise a better and fairer election.
What students say
Enock Tibategyereza, the coordinator for procurement class at the university, said by the introduction of the electronic voting; he thought that they were saved from the tiresome lining system and that e-voting has proved worse. "The machines have failed, let's use our traditional ballot box system," he stated.
Victory Nabbanja third year student of community based rehabilitation programme said, doesn't support the postponing of election, arguing that it will affect the entire university programme.
"Even if the machines are worked on, not all students will vote. Postponing will also affect the entire system of voting," she stated.
Nicholas Mercy Olinga, who is contesting for the guild councillor representative of non-residential students, said apart from jamming of machines, some students did not get ample time to train and get skills on how to use the machines.