Students’ leaders under their umbrella body of Uganda National Students Association(UNSA) in Wakiso have elected new leadership.
UNSA is an Umbrella organisation for all students in post primary institutions in Uganda.
Its operations are supported by the Parliamentary Education Act 2008 which mandates the establishment of Students Councils in post primary institutions.
Each district in Uganda has a Secretariat for UNSA.
In a hotly contested election which took place at Wakisha Resource Centre, over 1000 students from various schools across Wakiso district elected the new District Students Council.
Gift Nakato from Onwards and Upwards Secondary School, Buloba and Joel Luzige from Kings College Buddo were elected chairperson and Speaker of UNSA Wakiso Chapter respectively.
The UNSA Wakiso District Coordinator, Abdul Bisaso explained how leadership under UNSA is chosen.
“Every year, we elect new leadership. Every school sends five delegates from its student leaders who converge at the district and elect a District Council. Today, students from schools across Wakiso District have elected the District Council. These will be student leaders at District level. Today, a regime that has served for a year is going to handover power to the incoming regime to take up the responsibility,” Bisaso explained.
Wakiso district UNSA coordinator, Abdu Bisaso speaks .
“We have close to 60 Members of Parliament who went through UNSA, and this UNSA leadership groomed them to be future high profile Legislators. So, UNSA mentors future leaders,” he added.
Bisaso also explained that out of the 13 elected District Council executives, 4 who include the Chairperson, Speaker, Secretary for Women Affairs and Secretary for People with Disabilities (PWDs) will represent UNSA Wakiso Chapter at national level.
“We do this to instill leadership skills to students way down from classroom to school level, to District level, to national level and beyond.”
After the vote, UGNEWS24 spoke to winners to ascertain what they intend to do for students in the next one year of office.
“I will make sure that we go to schools, speak to students, encourage them that they can be better than who they think they are.”
The newly elected speaker, Joel Luzige from Kings College Buddo remarked, “In the new regime, we will turn purpose to vision, and the vision to a mission.”
The outgoing chairperson, Mathew Rodney Aturinda who doubles as Head Prefect at Kings College Buddo called on fellow students to embrace UNSA, and take part in leadership in order to make connections that will help them in future.
“Being here is a big step forward. You are making connections, you are networking, you are meeting new people. The person who are seated right next to could be the person to elect you when you want to become an MP [in future]. You have been told that the former Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda was a member of UNSA. As you are here today, utilize every opportunity. You may be seated there thinking you cannot do it, but the only way you can find out is to try. Step out of your comfort zone, try it, you never know it could work,” he said.
“As chairperson at the district, I am also a delegate to the National Executive. I have made so many connections. I met so many people, had so much exposure, and I can assure you, as I step in the next chapter of my life, I will be different because the experience I have gained at a very young age has prepared me to where I never thought I would be. To all of you in this place, strive to better because you are going to meet people who are going to transform you,” he added.
Hilary Asiimwe, the Secretary for Female Affairs at UNSA National Executive Committee challenged students to keep disciplined and stay focused.
“The only way to make it in this world is to keep disciplined and focused. You have to maintain discipline to strive through this world. Girls, as we grow up, we go through many stages, adolescence, you have boys approaching you, but if you want to emerge victorious, you must stay focused and know what you want,” she said.
UNSA has made enormous contribution in shaping Ugandan leaders.
Some of the current leaders that have gone through UNSA include; the former Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and the current Kitgum Woman Member of Parliament, Lilian Aber among others.
The UNSA structure begins from school to global level.
The school sends five delegates to represent the respective school at the district where they elect a District Council.
All the five delegates have a right to contest any position at district level.
However, to be chairperson or speaker, one must be in “A” Level.
Out of the 13 members that form the District Council Executive Committee, four delegates that include; chairperson, speaker, female representative and representative of personas with disability head to the national level, and elect National Students Council.
The National Executive Committee then elect the regional students body, the East African Students Executive Committee.
The East African Students Executive Committee together with similar bodies from across Africa converge in Accra, Ghana, and elect the African Students Union.
UNSA Wakiso chapter leadership
President: Gift Nakato – Onwards and Upwards Secondary School, Buloba.
Vice President: Joel Asasira – Light Academy.
Speaker: Joel Luzige – Kings College Buddo.
Deputy Speaker: Nantume Melissa – Trinity College Nabbingo.
General Secretary: Phoebe Nekesa – Kings College Buddo.
Secretary for Finance: Aidah Asiimwe – Kings College Buddo.
Secretary for Inter School Affairs: Immaculate Naggayi – Lubiri High School, Buloba Campus.
Secretary for Women Affairs: Bonitah Tusingwire – Bethel Covenant College.
Secretary for Information and Publicity: Jasper Asiimwe – Light Academy.
Secretary for School Affairs: Shadia Mpiima
Assistant General Secretary: Ronald Kazibwe – Mount of Olives College Kakiri.