Uganda Christian University is to embark on online voting for next guild elections slated for next month instead of using ballot papers.
Students will be using a new application called ‘e-Chagua,’ a Kiswahili word meaning voting to vote for their candidates.
Previously, UCU has been carrying out campaigns in campus and voting using ballot papers but the university recently came up with this new innovation to help students have a chance of electing their leaders during the current situation of Covid-19 pandemic.
During a press conference over the weekend, the director students’ affairs at UCU, Ms. Bridget Magasira Mugume appreciated this system and says it will help the University from spending much money on elections.
“In the previous Guild elections, the university could spend a lot of money on printing ballots, prolonging in long queues and counting votes. The budget has now reduced from Shs30m to only Shs19m.” Ms Mugasira said.
With this new system, candidates will also be doing their campaigns online because of Covid19 crisis just like the 2021 Presidential Elections.
“Candidates will have a debate on Television stations and we shall communicate to all students to watch and then choose suitable candidates,” Ms. Mugasira added.
She noted that even before the outbreak of Covid-19, the university was challenged to involve students from all its sister campuses in deciding their Guild President whose election is conducted at the main campus in Mukono yet decisions from his office affect all campuses.
Mr Edwin Byarugaba, the Uganda Christian University web and e-learning administrator ,said the e-voting system was developed on the request of the director of students affairs in 2015 to solve voting challenges at the university and it was also tested in 2018.
He adds that the system is designed with a voter’s registers section where student details are recorded and once the student is on a voter’s register, the system accepts him to generate a password to login and vote once.
“The online system is also going to accommodate students who have been missing elections for being off campus in September when the main election is conducted.” Boss John Bruce, the chairperson of UCU students guild Electoral Commission said.
The leadership term for the current serving student’s council is ending this month and most of its members are finalists. New leaders will be voted next month.