If you are out there and you still believes that the school of engineering is a hub of intellectualism, or whether this institution is a fountain of knowledge, if you wonder if the students here are a beacon of admiration, then you should think again, considering what transpired at the MES open debate in the conference hall on Wednesday 20th March 2013, I fear for the worst.
When the Electoral commission decided it was honorably enough to subject the MES candidates to an open debate, It was clear to all of us that a moment had arrived for us to chart out a new course of democracy, a moment where the choices of the students would reflect the commitment and dedication of our leaders but to my chagrin a dark cloud had darted our sky, Hooliganism and tales of indecency had replaced political maturity that was bound to ignite a lot of intellectual feelings and debate.
The Engineering society is engulfed in a crisis unprecedented, from concerns of financial impropriety to apparent neglect of the citizenry, a nearly flawed leadership transformation process where some candidates found out very late that they did not qualify, all these are consequence of incompetence on the part of some, but also the failure by the students collectively to make strong choices and decisions. As we make considerations on how to work closely with the leadership we elected to steer us into this new era, we should recognize with profoundness the willingness of these leaders to find meaning in something greater than themselves, that willingness to forgo lectures because one is coordinating a students workshop, the courage to challenge the college administration’s very unpopular policies and the hope that the silent voices of the least outspoken students have a louder voice tucked somewhere in them to speak for us, such is the MES we all want.
It should be understood that it is not only the skill and vision of the leaders in the bamboo house that has for the very many years propelled MES to its full functionality but rather the ideology of its members, that a First year Telecommunication Engineering student can come up with an award-winning project or that a final year Electrical Engineering student doesn’t only look up at UMEME for a salaried job but desires to be a job creator themselves, such determination has and is what the society desires.
Incompetence of the Electoral Commission
The recently concluded guild elections if anything should have been a credible source of edification on how a free and fair election should have been, an electoral process where no candidate is above the rule of law, where the slightest divergence from ethics is not tolerated, but such was different from the CEDAT electoral commission, lapses in management of the electoral process where observed when the commissioners failed miserably in their attempts to prevent rowdy supporters of rival candidates from being a nuisance in the open debate, campaigns on the polling day at the polling stations, interference and distraction of voters on the polling day and concerns about cheating and conspiracy to deny the students a chance to choose the candidates they want after it turned out that the number of people who voted exceeded the votes cast for some candidates, however the commission scored highly for the well made shirts and blouses the commissioners wore on election day
The unusual spectra which occurred when the organizers of the debate nearly stopped one candidate Mr. Onam Namakoola from taking to the podium because he failed to put money in the culture box should not have happened, such acts of impunity should not be tolerated because an institutionally organized open debate is a not an avenue to exercise financial might to sustain incumbent leaders’ greed but a battle ground for ideology and brilliant intellectualism as opposed to populism
Congratulations, Mr. President
The term opportunity cost is widely considered to be an alternative forgone every time a choice is made and in the recently concluded MES polls, the alternative foregone for you Mr. President was immense, for some it meant disagreements with friends and acquaintances while for others it was a case of conflicting loyalty. This cost then was paid by the more than 70% students who overwhelmingly voted for you and now is shouldered by the rest of the Engineering fraternity, we all contend that the challenges you face are many and real, and that they are not about talking and authoring long letters on notice boards but folding your shirt sleeves and getting to work, from the MES afternoons to integration of innovativeness and earning us back the trust we vested in you because the affairs of the MES demand for a compulsory effort to transform the society into an admired institution where integrity and accountability are inevitable.
To the entire new executive, we are proud that you emerged victorious and gave us options to choose from as Engineering students and for those that didn’t win; we say you triumphed in your pursuit of the truth and of democracy. This is my debate.