Politics in staff representation and democracy in higher education institutions in Uganda: extricating the actors’ intentions
Barifaijo, Maria K.
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The article examines the influence of representative politics on democracy in higher education institutions (HEIs). The research attempted to answer three main questions: (1) What are the intentions of the aspirants in their struggle to represent their constituents? (2) Why do electorates decide to or not to vote for the competing aspirants? (3) How has representative politics promoted democracy in the institutions? The study employed an ethnographic research. A qualitative approach was supported by a longitudinal design to collect data in two HEIs - Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute - from November 2009 to April 2015. Results revealed that aspirants had both personal and constituent-related desires as pushing factors for them to stand for elective positions. Ideological pursuits, academic achievements, personal gains and friendship with aspirants were also identified as motivating factors. The study was guided by the Theory of Rational Choice and Bandura’s Model of reasoned action. The article concludes that representative politics in HEIs did not enhance ideals of accountability and responsiveness as desired in democratic institutions; rather, it served the personal interests of representatives.