It was befitting to dedicate the fourth lecture in the Makerere Africa Lecture Series to celebrating the life of Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi, a brilliant student, distinguished alumnus, member of faculty and who while still a student at Makerere in 1970, was a part of the group that conceived the idea of having the Africa Lecture Series at the campus.
The fourth lecture in the Makerere Africa Lecture Series, was held on 15th March 2012 marking exactly ten years since Joshua passed on. The lecture focused on paying tribute to the strong values that the late Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi stood for. This witnessed the launch of the Dr. Joshua B. Mugyenyi Social Transformation Foundation and the promotion of the Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation.
Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, the Minister of Medical Services in the Republic of Kenya and also former Guild President of the Makerere University, gave the key note address.
“Let the spear of intellectual clarity burn wherever he is resting; let this foundation established in his memory spearhead excellence among students who will benefit from it; let the African people be liberated from political oppression and economic exploitation through the energies of the people as Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi would have wanted it,” he said in his speech.
Born on 27th May 1947 in Kajara County in Ankole Kingdom, Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi died on 15th March 2002, but his legacy is still lives on in the lives of individuals he worked with, associated with as well as those he mentored.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Professor Venansius Baryamureeba welcomed the Guest of Honour, Rt. Hon. Professor Apolo R. Nsibambi, a distinguished alumnus, and Former Chancellor of Makerere University to the public lecture and thanked him for graciously accepting to launch the Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi Social Transformation Foundation.
Professor Baryamureeba informed the congregation that Makerere University together with the family and friends, do remember Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi as a selfless individual, who gave his best at all times. “We chose this day, 15th March 2012 to remember a brilliant student, distinguished alumnus, former member of faculty and to commemorate a lifetime of achievements of a man who was brutally frank, stood for only the truth, and who fought for the rights of others even at the expense of risking his own life,” remarked Professor Venansius Baryamureeba.
“On this 15th day of March 2012, we join the nation in celebrating the life of an ever optimistic and passionate leader-transformer and eloquent discussant of the socio-economic transformation of Uganda and Africa,” he added.
Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi joined Makerere University in June 1968 and graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration. While at Makerere, Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi excelled in academics, he served as Vice President of the Students’ Guild who actively participated in fighting against all forms of injustices and threats to students’ welfare.
Through his teaching career, Josh, as he was fondly known, passionately shared his knowledge at the national and international levels. He was a Senior Lecturer at his alma mater, Makerere, in addition to teaching in other universities in Swaziland and Canada. Mugyenyi co-authored a number of books and published several peer reviewed papers in prominent journals. At the time of his death on 15th March 2002, he was a proactive member of the Makerere University Council-the top policy making organ and Chairperson of the Convocation. He mentored many and significantly contributed to the university motto: We Build for the Future.
In honour of the late Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi, the Ag. Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Professor Venansius Baryamureeba welcomed an exceptionally accomplished alumnus and former Guild President, and now Minister of Medical services in the Republic of Kenya, Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o to deliver a public lecture on “Social Transformation in Contemporary Africa: Reminiscences of Dr. Joshua B. Mugyenyi.”
As a token of appreciation and friendship, both families exchanged gifts. On unwrapping the gifts, they were pleasantly surprised to find that it was the same photo taken when they were members of the Guild in 1970. Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o described it as a “divine intervention” amidst laughter.
Professor Baryamureeba informed the congregation that while students at Makerere, the trio-Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o and Daudi Taliwaku conceived the idea of the Africa Lecture series.
“As the only surviving member of the Students’ Guild Executive 1969/70 trio that conceived the Africa Lecture Series, there is no greater way to celebrate the memory of our dearly departed Alumni, the late Dr. Joshua B. Mugyenyi and the late Ambassador Daudi Taliwaku than to have one of the original three present at this lecture. We are extremely grateful to you Hon. Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o for taking time off your demanding constituency and ministerial work to be with us today for yet another Public Lecture,” remarked the overjoyed Vice Chancellor.
Hon. Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o moved to the podium, but there was a sudden moment of silence, a reflection of a person re-calling a past history, and an audience ready to listen to an oratory of a man who had touched people from all walks of life.
With nostalgia, Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o delivered a moving public lecture on Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi whom he met in 1968 at Makerere University, but remained very close until when death robbed him 10 years ago.
“Joshua was a brave and courageous individual who used the mighty power of the pen and the written word to fights all forms of social injustices at Makerere, in Uganda and beyond. The fearless Joshua also risked his life to engage President Apolo Milton Obote on policies that he felt were undermining democracy,” stressed Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o during the public lecture.
One Sunday in January 1971, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o and Joshua woke up at Makerere only to observe that Radio Uganda was playing martial music all day, Uganda Television was showing cartoons all day and by the end of the day a rough voice came on both radio and television to say that the government of Apolo Milton Obote was no more: “It is now a military government,” announced Smart Gwedeko, a mere warrant officer.
Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o said Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi never gave up his disgust with the military regime. Although Joshua stayed at Makerere for some time as a tutorial fellow in the Department of Political science, continued as a Lecturer at the Institute of Public Administration, did his post graduate work in Manchester, came back as Senior Lecturer; his spirit was always urging him to do something about this military menace in Uganda. At the beginning of the eighties, after the debacle of the general elections of 1980, Joshua became a founder member of the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) which eventually metamorphosed into the National Resistance Movement.
Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o informed the friends of Joshua gathered in the Main Hall that he had told the stories to describe the world Joshua lived in and the world he sought to change. “I have told these stories not to re-count the personal relations and experiences, but to shade light on the African world Joshua lived in and tried to change for the better; to get some insight into issues related to social transformation in contemporary Africa,” he stressed.
Joshua took theory to point of practice, and was always ready to engage in auto-criticism. “I remember in 1996, Joshua was very determined that the NRM should have a political transition in which the leaders of the NRM revolution would democratically pass the torch to a new generation so as to avoid tendencies towards authoritarianism,” Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o added.
Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o also observed that the challenges to democratic governance and social transformation in Africa remain pertinent today as they were then. But they cannot be known or practised without such piercing analyses and scholarship as was the case with Joshua. And scholarship, within and outside academic institutions, is always a social engagement. It is not confined to those of us who have degrees, it is the enterprise of those ready to think, write and speak on social issues without the cloud of dogma, bias and various forms of chauvisim.
Paying tribute to Joshua, Dr. Ezra Suruma, Senior Presidential Advisor on Finance and Economic Planning, said Joshua’s number one quality was courage. Dr Suruma was optimistic that if in every generation, we have one man or woman of Joshua’s intellect and courage, Uganda’s freedom would be fundamentally advanced. “As we remember Joshua, let us pray that God will raise men and women of his quantum of intellect and courage,” remarked Dr. Suruma who met Joshua in September 1979 at Makerere University and who together with Joshua agreed to form the Uganda National Movement (UNM). According to Dr. Suruma, Joshua’s life, his works and his example can be summarised as: “I will declare the truth. And I will fight for what is right, even though it is dangerous. And if die, I die.”
Mr. Fred Guweddeko, a researcher, at Makerere Institute of Social Research, informed the audience that Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi had a dream to become the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University. Mr. Fred Guweddeko together with Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi embarked on gathering data aimed at instituting reforms at Makerere when latter become the Vice Chancellor after Professor P.M.J. Ssebuwufu’s reign. Mr. Guweddeko said this is a dream he never lived to see.
Professor Mahmood Mamdani, a renowned scholar and Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), said the best of all independence is the independence of thought. He advocated for the need to turn Makerere into a research led university, and a purely public university not to benefit only the state, but society at large.
Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi worked at the Bank of Uganda for 14 years. The Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda, Dr. Louis Kasekende said many members of staff at the Bank of Uganda remember him for his open management style.
He initiated reforms aimed at improving the welfare of workers and respected all people regardless of their rank. “It was during his tenure that the Bank of Uganda launched the pension scheme. He revamped the training scheme, improved the appraisal system and initiated the House Advance and Building Loan scheme,” he said. “We in the Bank of Uganda feel proud to be associated with this noble cause of spearheading social transformation.”
Mrs. Mary Mugyenyi, the widow, thanked all the people who had filled the Main Hall to capacity for honouring their invitation. In a special way, she thanked the Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, the Bank of Uganda and their consultant, Mr. George Piwang-Jalobo for the tremendous support towards the success of the public lecture and launch.On behalf of her siblings, one of the daughters of the late Joshua said that their father loved nature, loved children and he always brought joy, values that they will seek to emulate. “We shall be exemplary. We shall love each other. We shall always remember what our father stood for,” she said.
She said her husband was a family man, dedicated father and a person who encouraged free thinking in the family. She said that her husband encouraged and supported her to pursue her career and political aspirations.
“Today, 15th March 2012, marks the celebration of the past and also the launch of the future of Joshua immortalised through the- Dr. Joshua B. Mugyenyi Social Transformation Foundation. The best way to celebrate his life was to focus on his passion for education and knowledge. This Foundation will focus on the bright, but disadvantaged youth to access education,” she said.”The Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation, which supports girls from disadvantaged socio-economic background, will be the first beneficiary of the Grant from the Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi Foundation.”
Mrs. Mugyenyi added that the foundation will also support research and increase funding for the treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
Launching the Foundation, the Guest of Honour, Professor Apolo R. Nsibambi, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda said: “I am honoured to launch the Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyeni Social Transformation Foundation to keep the memory of my student, colleague and friend alive. I pray that the Foundation will be blessed and prosper to advance the ideals, values and convictions for which Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi lived and worked.”
Professor Apolo Nsibambi contributed Shs1 million towards the Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi Social Transformation Foundation.
The Chancellor of Makerere University, Professor George Mondo Kagonyera, and also a very close friend of the Mugyenyi family thanked Mrs. Mary Mugyenyi for looking after the children and continuing to advance the principles that her husband, the late Dr. Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi held dearly.
Written by: Ritah Namisango, Public Relations Office
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The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
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Application Forms for Admission to Public Universities 2024/2025
The Academic Registrar, Makerere University informs all Head Teachers of A ‘Level schools that application forms for admission to public universities for senior six candidates (UACE 2023) for the 2024/2025 academic year will be ready for collection from the university from Monday 4th December, 2023.
The application forms should be collected from the Office of the Academic Registrar, Senate Building, Level 3, Makerere University.
Issuing of the application forms will start on Monday, 4th December 2023 on payment of a non-refundable application fee of Uganda Shs. 52,000/=(fifty two thousand Uganda shillings only) per application form.
You are advised to get a pay reference number (PRN) using the ACMIS system (http://pay.mak.ac.ug) to enable you pay the application fees in any bank used by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
The forms are for Ugandans only.
Please note that only Head Teachers or their authorized representatives will be served.
The closing date for submitting the completed application forms will be Wednesday 31st January, 2024.
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