UCU alum elected Guild President of Law Development Center western campus

By Ian Asabo
An alumnus of Uganda Christian University (UCU) has been elected the third Guild President of the Law Development Center (LDC), Mbarara campus.

John Baptist Ouma was only a student for a few days at the campus located in western Uganda when he heard of the process of nominating candidates for the post. He did not think twice before throwing his hat in the ring against three other contestants. He beat them all.

Ouma joins another UCU alumnus on the pedestal of guild leadership. Boss John Bruce became the Guild President of the main campus of LDC in Kampala on November 8, 2021.

Ouma (third-left) with some former UCU student leaders. Courtesy photos
Ouma (third-left) with some former UCU student leaders. Courtesy photos

LDC offers a postgraduate bar course, the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, a mandatory course for all lawyers intending to practice law in Uganda. LDC is the only institution that offers such a course in Uganda. It has campuses in Kampala, Mbarara and Lira in northern Uganda.

Ouma’s former student colleagues at UCU have in the recent past achieved victory in elections. 

Ouma is fully aware of the challenges of being the Guild President. He acknowledges that it will be a daunting task for him to juggle the tight student schedule with leadership responsibilities and “making some tough decisions” as a leader. However, he is quick to add that he is mentally prepared for the challenges.

During his campaigns, he promised to be the medium through which students can pass to reach the administration to present their concerns as he tries to bridge the gap between the two parties. 

As he takes up the mantle, Ouma is aware that his leadership position can be used to launch himself into national politics after school. In fact, it is one of the reasons that propelled him to pursue the Bachelor of Laws course – he believed the course offers the best platform for “one to get the necessary knowledge before venturing into representation of people.”

While a student at UCU, Ouma served in the position of Prime Minister in the 2019 UCU guild government. 

Ouma says he did not have the money to finance his campaigns at the LDC Mbarara campus, but because he focused more on what he wanted to achieve, he easily raised funds from friends, especially the UCU alumni in the legal fraternity.

When Ouma joined UCU in 2017, he was appointed Class Representative for his Bachelor of Laws class. As a Class Representative, among many other duties, he was the link between students and the lecturers. He was later voted a student leader representing non-resident students at the university. 

Ouma has relished leadership since his formative years of education. He contested unsuccessfully as a leader in Primary Five at York Primary School in Bugiri district in eastern Uganda. While he didn’t succeed, Ouma says he picked up lessons from what did not go right in the contest. When he enrolled at Kiira College Butiki where he attended secondary school in eastern Uganda, he was elected a student leader. 

“The biggest failure is failing to appreciate that failure exists,” said the 24-year-old who hails from Namayingo district in eastern Uganda. “If you can’t take in failure, then success will never come your way because it is these hardships that we go through that make us better people.” 

He says no amount of obstacle should block someone from a dream, adding, “Let no excuse ever be too big an obstacle to stop you from pursuing …because you don’t want to have regrets down the road.”