January 11, 2024



Waiswa defies odds to become UCU Kampala guild president

By Kefa Senoga
Were it not for charity, Waiswa Moses might not have made it to university studies. His twin sister, Namukose Babirye, temporarily put a halt to education after sitting her Senior Four exams because their single mother, Namugabu Jaliat, a market vendor, could not afford the school fees.

Many familiar with Waiswa’s background did not approve of his desire to contest for the highest office of student leadership at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Kampala Campus. And their disapproval is not because they begrudged him the position of Guild President of the institution. They knew fully well the financial requirements to campaign. Even Waiswa knew he did not have the financial muscle to pull off a successful campaign.

Moses Waiswa’s Journey to UCU Guild Presidency

But somehow, his mother, friends and students helped him to pool resources for his triumphant campaign. In December 2023, the third-year student of Bachelor of Laws was sworn in as the campus’ next Guild President, after he defeated his challenger, Molly Kebirungi. 

The 22-year-old takes over power from Zedekkia Ssekyonda, a student in the School of Medicine who was the first medical student to lead the UCU Kampala guild presidency.

Waiswa and Mr. David Mugawe, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Waiswa and Mr. David Mugawe, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

In Ugandan politics, it is rare for people to fully fund one’s political campaigns of someone running for an electoral office. In most cases, it is the contestant who bears all the financial needs of running the campaigns for an electoral office, including facilitating the campaign agents.

Waiswa said in addition to providing the money, his friends also provided the vehicles he used for his campaigns. The money is usually used for fueling the cars, printing campaign fliers and posters and hiring a public address system and music to attract students to the campaign rallies.

In appreciation for the help he got from students and friends, Waiswa has aptly christened his leadership as the People’s Government. In his manifesto, Waiswa promised to “improve the academics, accountability, advocacy and level of sociability at the campus.”

Waiswa’s education has largely been courtesy of bursaries. Even currently, his tuition needs are being met by charity. 

Waiswa joined Compassion International Uganda, a non-governmental organization, for leadership training, after completing his Senior Six. At the organization, Waiswa is a participant in the Leadership Development Initiative, a program that nurtures outstanding students into the leaders of tomorrow. The program empowers youth to become devoted disciples of Christ, unlocking their inherent potential and positively impacting their communities.

When Compassion International Uganda learned of the success of Waiswa in the elections, they congratulated him: “Through the Leadership Development Initiative, we focus on key outcomes such as growth in Christ, wellbeing, youth agency and self-sufficiency. We’re proud to see Hon. Waiswa Moses embodies these principles and we’re confident he will continue to make a meaningful difference in his role as guild President.”

Among the people watching keenly for Waiswa to complete his law degree are some of his five siblings, who are expecting that he will offer financial relief to them. His twin sister, Nakato, who hopes to become a nurse, says is soon joining a nursing and midwifery school to realize her dream. 

Besides academics, Waiswa is also an enthusiastic scout. In 2018, he represented his school, Jinja Senior School located in eastern Uganda, at a scouts camp at the famous Ransburg Scout Reservation on the banks of Lake Monroe in Indiana, USA. At Jinja Secondary School, Waiswa was a student leader — the Head Boy from 2017 to 2018 and Head Prefect from 2019 to 2020.