You are walking down university road and suddenly a tennis bag drops out of a speeding SUV and in it are a bundle of well stashed 50,000 bills, carefully packed, you are gobsmacked, you look side ways to confirm somebody really didn’t see what you saw, at first you are tempted into thinking it is a bomb dropped at your feet by a certain Al-shabab or its affiliates but you remember the air tight security at the gates can’t let that pass, so something tickles you a little, it’s the cats familiar hobby, curiosity. Takes up your mind and you fearfully open the bag so as to peep inside, Bingo!!! It’s paper!! You hurriedly rush to the Faculty of Social Sciences toilet, you bolt the door and silently start scrutinizing the bills, you count rather hastily and you find they are exactly 360 bills bundled in 18’s. Imagine that was you; imagine you were 18 million shillings richer. What is the first purchase that comes to mind? Would you continue to eat at Hajjat’s Kikoni restaurant, would you buy your girlfriend a brand new phone, would you invest it in your classmates favourite business idea, would you help offset your friends tuition deficit, would you buy a stake in a USE listed firms, or would you invest it in the MUK presidential Elections.
This is the same question my contemporary asked when such news filtered about our very own Hon. Mwine Musa who is currently running for president in the MUK Guild Elections, the rumour alleges that while he served as the president of Makerere Engineering Society, him and his executive team pocketed 18 million, part of the money budgeted for students project at the Annual CEDAT Open Day Fair, make no mistake!! I am an ardent subscriber of the policies of the society, I am a great admirer of the great work the society has been up to lately, notwithstanding let us have a sneak peak at what a student, a Makerere university student in particular can do with 18 million shillings.
Tuition for a full engineering degree for two
The average undergraduate engineering student at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology coughs up 1,155,000 shillings in tuition per semester and by the time they would be lining up at freedom square for their graduation, they would have spent a collective fee of 9,240,000 shillings or look at it this way, you can use that money to train four teachers at this university, a bachelor of arts degree in education is just under 700,000 shillings per semester, by the time four students clear out their desk at the School of Education, they would have credited the university account with about 17 million.
Run a successful campaign at MUK.
Shortly after H.E Bwowe Ivan got an overwhelming majority in last year’s guild polls, rumour spread around, and they do spread very first on campus, that an astute business minded fellow, on realizing the potential in Bwowe’s unparalleled abilities to win this race, bet out a whole load of cash on his candidature, and luckily enough the young democrat though independent then, won the elections.
The cost of successfully running a meaningful election at the university is upwards of 50 m but the impact of having an extra 18 million cheque to bolster your campaigns should not be underestimated.
Buy a proprietary software start-up at CoCIS
Proprietary software apps that eventually offers businesses an affordable local alternative to solving challenges while bridging the telecommunication gap in medicine, science, engineering are the way to go, tens of students at Makerere University are coming up with apps such as winsenga, nLight Flashlight, ffene, Word book, WhirlSports et cetera that solve serious problems in society.
The growing population and the increasing cost of acquiring legit softwares have made tech start-ups a much sought after commodity, therefore for those who think long time, an 18 million cheque can buy you a tech start-up from the student laptops at CoCIS to an upscale office in a certain silicon valley look alike serene environment in Ntinda.
Start up your favourite childhood company
The cost of registering a private limited company in Uganda all the way from name reservation to allocating share capital to acquiring lawyers to draft company books is just under 6,000,000 assuming you start with a capital of 5m at least, having got a blank cheque worthy 18 million why wouldn’t you register your firm, procure furniture and an office, hire a secretary and spend the balance to chase deals or jobs for the company.
Buy 35,000 shares in UMEME
On the USE bourse, the UMEME share has stagnated at a flat rate of 500/= for days, this implies that with 18m you could own up about 36,000 of the 622.38m shares issued at their IPO and you become part of the 23.75 % individual share holders in the company, this will eventually guarantee you a profit of over 800,000 a year in dividend payments assuming the company maintains its 25/= per share payout annually.
For a student looking at life from your senile grandfather’s perspective, and with an 18m cheque they would consider that as a worthwhile venture.
Your girlfriend’s new apparels
It would be totally unfair for me to ignore the laissez-faire type who always thinks about their partner rather liberally, whether they are feasting on a ‘hot rolex’ or munching a burger, they always want to appease their partners at all costs. Probably because you are tired of the pushing and hand pulling down town Owino, you’ll head straight to mainstream Kampala and check in at Sylvia Owori boutique and buy your girlfriend handmade latest apparel, some classy gold coated watches, fitting shoes and some lingerie at just 5 million or less.
Leave out the Muyindi at your peril
The word Muyindi in Uganda is synonymous with sports betters, for the bare fact that most sports betting firms are Asian owned with most proprietors being Indian, The phrase, "It takes money to make more money" comes in handy, you’ll ask that first year student that dropped out of school because he had spent the whole of his tuition on sports betting, a bogus Chelsea versus QPR English premier league game in which Chelsea was beaten a goal to nil in January of 2013, that one. Most students would take a portion of the 18 million and stake some of it on a ticket with the hope of creating more wealth (for lack of a better word).
I do not want to delve so much on whether Hon. Mwine Musa toke the money or not, the college principal can do an authentic audit, my interest is to give a business sense into the whole allegations by enumerating the things one would buy with that money allegedly taken by Mwine Musa and his executives from the coffers of Makerere Engineering Society.