Mak Politics Discriminatory - Minister

Written by: 
Sharifah Nambi

A cabinet minister in Makerere’s 85th Guild has decried what he calls a high level of discrimination in the student politics.

Ahmed Abdirahman, a Kenyan national, says that rising from the lower ranks to the guild council (GRC) and then cabinet wasn't a walk in the park but a battle against discrimination. The minister says that politics at Makerere University is highly sectarian along political, tribal and nationality lines.

"I have personally faced discrimination from students because I am a foreigner and it has been really hard to overcome," Abdirahman told Journalism@Mak in an interview this week.

Abdirahman says that it's hard to find ten Kenyans in class. Thus becoming a GRC member in his first year of study was not a smooth raid. Contesting for leadership proved to be a test of his luck. He says that he kept contemplating on how he would handle the rejection from students. However, he says that he just believes in God and did his best to win the favour of the majority vote.  

He says money has been a big factor in the guild politics at Makerere. "Politics being driven by money is one big challenge that I faced. It's not based on capacities or capabilities. Students always vote people that give them expensive 'logistics',” he explained.

The minister added: “You have to work hard to organize money for elections."

Abdirahman says he’s found it difficult to strike a balance between his role as a student leader and his studies. "I am a day student but I had to fix into evening class so as to balance my books and leadership. I represent students on the Senate, the admissions committee, ceremonies committee and academic policies. So, every day I fall into a meeting, feels exhausted," he says.

He adds that he chose the evening programme because it's compatible with his responsibilities.

Abdirahman has a piece of advice for students who wish to join politics.

"Students who want to join this field have to first learn how the system works. It's very hard for someone to attain any position without the knowledge of the system. You can consult outgoing leaders. Finally save some money for campaigns".