Anna Adeke Ebaju: I did not convene Uganda National Students Association AGM in Soroti

Anna Adeke Ebaju: I did not convene Uganda National Students Association AGM in Soroti
Anna Adeke Ebaju.
Anna Adeke Ebaju.

I recently learnt with profound shock and concern that communication was secretly sent out to a few hand-picked coordinators and members of Uganda National Students Association (UNSA) purporting to convene the 26th Annual General Meeting of the National Students Council (NSC) at Teso College, Aloet, in Soroti District on January 26.

The said meeting was expected to go on until January 30 when ‘elections’ would be held for new members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of UNSA.

I was reliably informed that President Museveni was scheduled to address NSC ‘delegates’ at the meeting and thereafter pose for a group photo with them.

I also looked at some of the letters purporting to convene this ‘council meeting’ and I can state that they are sham because they were allegedly signed by my deputy, Mr Juma Saidi Lumanzi, who was not at the time authorised to act in the position of Speaker.

The power to convene NSC is vested in the office of the Speaker under Articles 6(2.1) & 11 of the UNSA constitution.

Secondly, the organisers of this meeting violated the UNSA constitution by failing to publish in a recognised newspaper a two weeks’ notice of the meeting and its proposed agenda.

I must make it clear that my office did not convene the meeting in Soroti, and I distance myself from it.

When the term of office of the outgoing NEC expired on December 31, 2014, the UNSA constitution mandated me to constitute and chair the caretaker government. Accordingly, I convened a series of consultative meetings focusing on how best to organise the next NSC meeting and provide the incoming NEC with a firm foundation.

There were five key issues that needed to be addressed before the 26th AGM/NSC could be legitimately convened: Nomination and accreditation of delegates: At the moment, delegates to NSC are not known and can therefore not be properly accredited.

The caretaker government is committed to ensure that the names of all delegates are submitted to the UNSA secretariat and accreditation is done before convening the NSC.

Status of payment of subscription fees: The caretaker government has not received a status report on the payment of subscription fees by post-primary educational institutions or district coordinators that are members of UNSA.

Payment of subscription fees is a precondition for nominating delegates to attend the NSC.

Financial statements and report: The caretaker government has not received any financial statements or reports from the secretariat for the year that ended on December 31, 2014.

Preparation of the agenda for the Council: Article 6(2.5) of the UNSA constitution vests the power to draw up and publish the agenda of the council, in consultation with the chairperson and speaker.

I am fully aware that by January 25, the general secretary had not drawn up or published such agenda.

Time limit for electing NEC: Under Article 8(1.3) (b) of the UNSA constitution, the AGM of council should have taken place before the end of January 2015.

However, on account of the reasons mentioned above and due to lack of funds, we were unable to convene the council.

As the caretaker government, we are committed to managing the transition process transparently, ensuring that the next council meeting addresses these shortcomings and ushers in a legitimate and focused student leadership.

While I am fully supportive of gatherings between students and the President of Uganda, as Speaker and chairperson of the caretaker government of Uganda National Students Association, I have no intentions of involving the presidency in meetings convened without following required procedures.

Over the coming weeks, I will respectfully continue my consultations with all student leaders and stakeholders across the country on the specific strategies needed to revitalise UNSA.

Writen by Adeke Anna, the speaker and chairperson of UNSA’s caretaker government and former guild president, Makerere University. annaadeke@gmail.com

RELATED: Makerere University’s Lillian Aber voted President Uganda National Students Association.

 

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