The University of Zambia Students have elected third year environmental education student Warran Hamusunga as new UNZASU president, after two academic years without representation.
The students have also ushered in a 12-member cabinet which has been introduced under the new guild leadership model.
The tightly contested elections saw 53 students competing for 15 positions provided for in the Guild leadership model which Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo has introduced.
The campaigns ran for two weeks with different candidates selling their manifestos to the student populace.
The presidency saw three candidates battling against each other for the top job. These were Warran Hamusunga popularly known by his supporters as ‘Wallah’, Andrew Mwansa popularly known as ‘UNZA Tamanga’ and Jack Banda also known as ‘Super Sub’.
The campaigns were characterised with allegations that some presidential candidates were sponsored by the ruling party to infiltrate the students’ representative board.
Andrew Mwansa, who in the early campaign days was seen as the top contender, fell out of favour with majority of students who suspected him of being a surrogate of the ruling party, calling him ‘Shushushu (sell out)’. Expensive campaign materials and massive dishing out of beer worsened students’ suspicions.
As suspicions of political influence grew against ‘UNZA Tamanga’, Warran Hamusunga emerged from his political slumber and capitalised on his arch rival’s weakness, using his less understood but crowd pulling ‘Wallah,-Warranist-Warranism-Warran-Wallah!’ slogan, which took the entire campus by storm until poll day.
Warran managed to convince mostly male students, popularly known as ‘Monks’, who vowed to vote for him regardless of his lack of eloquence in his speech. The Monks were heard saying they would rather have a ‘fool’ whom they could control, than having a wise person who could be controlled by the ruling party.
The charismatic Warran, who is believed to have had no campaign resources, won the hearts of students who made his slogan the University’s anthem throughout the campaign period.
In his addresses to students, Warran addressed the ‘elephant in the room’, vowing that he was not aligned to any political party and therefore was best place to represent students.
Seeing that Warran did not have any posters, some of his followers used plain papers to write his slogans and other campaign messages and helped spread the word.
On poll day, students turned up in their thousands to cast votes. The voting, which started at 06: 00 hours on Friday, June 9, 2018, was only closed around 22:00 hours.
The presidential results were only announced on Sunday morning amidst fear and speculation by Warran’s supporters that there was a scheme to rig the presidential election results in favour of Andrew Mwansa.
And announcing the presidential results, UNZASU Electoral Commission chairperson Jonathan Sichinsambwe declared Warran Hamusunga as duly elected UNZASU president at 04:14.
Warran polled 1, 760 votes against his closest rival Andrew Mwansa who polled 1,173. Jack Banda was trailing in the third position with only 174 votes.
The declaration of Hamusunga as winner, sparked a wide spread celebration by his supporters who also carried a mock coffin with the words ‘RIP UNZA TAMANGA’ written on it.
They were also heard chanting ‘Shushushu alile, alile, shushushu alile (the sell out should cry)’ in reference to losing Andrew Mwnansa whom they accused of being an informer of the ruling party.
And in an interview after being declared winner, Warran said he was grateful that his fellow students gave him a mandate to lead them despite not having any campaign materials, promising to work hard.
“I can tell you that it is only by the power of God and the confidence that fellow students have in me. Because personally I just started campaigning this week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because I was demoralized based on what happened when we went for presidential debate. If you come in campus even as I speak, I do not have a single poster, not even a single flier, not even a single banner throughout the university. You would not see any poster of mine except the one which has been circulating on social media; Facebook and Whatsapp. There is nothing on campus, we just had to address the students, telling them that I want in the gap for you and consider your interests and due to that, students believed in me and voted for me,” said Warran.
“I am not against or for any political party. This union is not for politicians, it’s for UNZA students, therefore when we are elected in these positions, we are supposed to represent students without being intimidated by politicians. This is the mouth piece of UNZA students and we have to stand the pressure from politicians. We shall work together with all students, we shall welcome any advice but we shall not entertain any political influence, being controlled any political party.”
Meanwhile, the ministries, which mirror government structures are provided for in the ‘Guild’ constitution. The ‘Guild’ constitution also provides for the positions of vice-president and prime minster.
The ministries include: ministry of finance, ministry of justice and constitutional affairs, ministry of trade and commerce, ministry of local government, ministry of water, sanitation and environment, ministry of guidance and religious affairs, ministry of education and academic affairs, ministry of information, research and employment, ministry of gender, ethics and integrity, ministry of students with disabilities, ministry of social, cultural and mobilization and the ministry of sports and games.