Maria Kaguhangire-Barifaijo, PhD (

Rose B. Namara, PhD (

Uganda Management Institute

CITATION: Barifaijo M. K. & Namara R.B, November (2015),Representative Politics And Democracy In Higher Institutions Of Learning:Extricating The Actors’ Intentions.: International journal of Social Sciences & Education (IJSSE) Volume 1 (4), 302 -326. ISSN 2105 6008.

This paper examines the influence of representative politics on democracy in higher education institutions. It discusses the dynamics of staff representation on different organs and its presumption of “democracy” by revealing the intentions of the executives, the aspirants, and the electorates. 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 these institutions?

The findings are a result of a qualitative approach, guided by a longitudinal design, conducted in two higher education institutions; Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute - from November, 2009 to April, 2014. Interviews were conducted with current representatives, unsuccessful aspirants, electorates and executives. Observations and documentary reviews were employed to collect data. Results revealed that aspirants had both personal and constituent related desires as pushing factors for them to stand for elective positions. Further, numerous reasons ranging from ideological pursuits, academic achievements, personal gains and friendship with aspirants were identified as having influence to electorate’s choices. The study revealed that majorly, communication flowed from top to bottom without giving the constituents a chance for their views to be heard. This has left constituents extremely frustrated and doubted the intention of representation. In a discussion guided by the Theory of Rational Choice, The Theory of Planned Behavior, and the Theory of Reasoned Action and Bandura's Model of Self-efficacy, the paper concludes that representative politics in higher education institutions did not enhance ideals of accountability and responsiveness as desired in democratic institutions, but rather, served personal interests of representatives.

Key words: aspirants, constituents, democracy, election, higher education, representation.

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