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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Men stand out from boys in Makerere Guild race

"Fellow intellectuals, you are blessed to have come not to listen to a leader but to a president from this time and a president who will lead this university forever," is how Mr Edward Kilibata opened his guild presidential campaign speech at Makerere University.

"I know that many of you have been hearing of the name Kilibata, this is the time that you've come to listen to your leader. This is the man [as he thumped his chest] for those who've never seen me, just see me. I'm the one, I have come and I will not go back. Freedom will only be that as stated by me Kilibata because Kilibata means freedom. I've a broad manifesto. Problem of disability will be solved completely and also, problem of international students — we shall pay the school fees that are similar. I'll move and see my friend Kibaki , I'll move and see Museveni , I'll move and see Kikwete because they are presidents like me. Brothers and sisters, I shall give you money if you vote Kilibata. There is what is called a loan scheme; I'm in touch with the government and the different employers. We shall give you money and everybody. So vote Kilibata, vote ability and you'll not regret!" By the time he was through, students were choking with laughter.

The just-ended campaigns were alive with smooth speakers, brass bands, sleek cars and a silent contest among top contenders to see who spits more money. The 'council of cultural elders' in their red academic gowns reaped, as each of the 15 candidates dropped 'something' into their small box before being given the platform to seek votes.

"It's impossible to talk of freedom when MUK is for tear gas," one said, "we are in political menopause, the time is now to vote for a leader who can distinguish a black mamba from a Police Officer."

Mr Aaron Kirunda, perturbed by the madness, was forced to bellow, "this is not a contest of drama or we would have taken it to Pride Theatre and neither is it about proving our financial prowess or we would have left it to Roman Abramovich or Bill Gates but it's about ability. Ability is like virginity— you either have it or not."

Mr Kamurari just did some boogie-woogie on stage as he shouted 'Kamurari Oyee' until his five minutes were over.

On the other side of the Freedom Square, the fans of Sekabira Haruna a.k.a 'Designer' [DP] ignited a bonfire: "We are now warm because we are dancing to the warmth of the fire and our candidate," said a supporter.

Mr Isaiah Eitwu, who calls himself a 'demagogic orator' and a man who is inspired by 'Adolf Hitler the only orator the 20th century lived to see,' amused more when he asked his listeners to 'observe a moment of silence in recognition of the fall of Adolf Hitler'.

Almost none raised issues of concern to the students. But like Mr Gerald Karuhanga, the eventual winner, blurted out, the guild was not ready to accommodate "a comedian guild president, nor a choirmaster."

Published in Sunday Monior, March 26, 2006