Nambassa on becoming guild president and her future plans
In November 2021, the electoral body of Makerere University announced Shamim Nambassa as the new guild president. The 23-year-old student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and in her 4th year is a resident of Mary Stuart Hall. She garnered 5,610 votes (54%). In the search of who would be the NUP guild flag bearer, she was the only girl among several boys.
Nambassa comes from Kamuli-kwinzi village, Kanyangea Parish in Kasese sub-county, Kasese District. She started at Parental Care Primary School in Kasese. Then she went to Nabisunsa Girls’ School from S1 to S6. In S5, she stood to become a head girl and won. Thereafter, she joined Makerere University.
The 87th guild president is the 5th female guild president yet also the 1st pharmacy and female Muslim president. Previously, she was on the Guild Representative Council for health science and minister of academic affairs.
Nambassa says she started her political journey as being part of People Power and finally NUP. “I believe NUP is a party that aligns with the beliefs of the young generation, myself included. While it is seemingly impossible for the youth to get a good listening ear from other parties, NUP welcomed me, showed that they believed in me and were ready to support me. I also believed in the cause of the party and subsequently its values.”
The motivation to join the guild president race stems from Nambassa being passionate about leadership. “I like to see things happen and being at the frontline is what I desire.”
On how she learned tactics to win the election, Nambassa says it was more than just her. “It was a team’s effort with everyone bringing to table what they could do best. That way, even when the race was more of a roller coaster, with arrests and lots of work to do, we pulled it off and it was all worth it.”
Apart from the arrests, there were issues of gender bias being a female and running for the biggest office at university. That said, she says it took being in position to explain and convince people that Nambassa could do more than they expected.
Common in her campaign was the slogan “illiteracy cannot cure Covid, vaccinate the junta with weewee”. Nambassa says in simplicity, it meant that the continued closure of schools only led to increased levels of illiteracy rather than solving Covid as a problem. Weewee is more of a chanting students always say when there is something not right.”
It is known that none of the Makerere guild presidents ever remains the same as they invariably join the country’s politics. In the same vein, despite undertaking a gruelling course; Pharmacy, Nambassa believes that unlike some medical courses such as medicine, she has the opportunity to continue undertaking politics. “It is about setting priorities right and knowing how to manage and balance time.”
For now, I am focusing on the guild presidency to serve the people that voted me in because giving me 5,610 votes showed that they believed in me and my campaign.