Africa-Press – Uganda. Private universities have set the pace in adopting electronic voting (E-Voting) system in the country.
The institutions are embracing the exercise as one of the measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Victoria University yesterday held its first ever virtual election for new student leaders.
Speaking to the media during the launch of the programme, the vice chancellor of the university, Mr Lawrence Muganda, said students were excited to hold the two-day virtual guild elections.
The virtual polls started yesterday and end today.
“In this virtual system, candidates at all levels are able to follow the exercise from the start to the end and all the guild candidates are able to count their votes and be in position to tell if they are winning or losing. It’s the most transparent election process at university level,” he said.
Mr Muganga added that the university has built the system that enables students to vote for their preferred candidate from wherever they are and follow up their votes without the help of any voting agents.
“We have exhibited a high level of transparency and these candidates will ably shake hands knowing that no one has rigged the election,” he said.
Ms Precious Aturinda, the assistant academic registrar, said the guild position has two contestants.
They are Ms Michelle Kirabo, a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Communication student, and Mr Abdul Basita Kasimagwa, who is studying a Diploma in Procurement and Logistics.
Mr Muganga also revealed that when the pandemic hit the country, they developed an online learning portal called V- Class that is a highly-recommended learning management system in most of the higher institutions of learning.
“This online learning management system was assessed and approved by the higher institutions of learning and it enables students to access information, classes, assessments and exams,” he said.
IUIU virtual election
The first institution to hold virtual elections was Islamic University in Uganda (IUIUI) in October last year.
The chairperson of the electoral commission for 2020/2021 in IUIU Kampala Campus, Mr Abdul Latif Ssemwanga, said the virtual exercise was very challenging.
“The system had a lot of network faults to send particular voting codes to every student. The system was overloaded and majority of the students were left out without getting the codes,” he said.
Mr Ssemwanga added that some of the students did not update their e-mails during the lockdown and they were not able to participate in the exercise.
E-voting in East Africa
After embracing online teaching and learning, some institutions of higher learning in the Uganda are beginning to shift to electronic voting even as the central government struggles to adopt the new technology during general elections.
Ugandans in the diaspora have been demanding for the e-voting to enable them participate in the country’s elections, but the Electoral Commission clarified that the country couldn’t afford the electronic voting – (E-Voting) system. Unlike the neighbouring countries Rwanda and Kenya whose citizens living within East Africa can participate in voting wherever they are through the electronic voting system, Uganda still lags behind.