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Ngugi revitalizes Pan-Africanism as Mak honours Nyerere



It is the 29th June 2013 at 2:00pm, the Makerere University Main Hall is bustling with activity as alumni, friends, staff members of Makerere University and well wishers stream in to join the historic commemoration of the University of East Africa, UEA, (1963 – 1970). The Main hall is filled with laughter as alumni greet each other with warm passionate hugs and handshakes. It has been years since they last saw each other. It has been years since they last shared a seat in this Main Hall. It has been years since they last returned to Makerere University, where it all started. Some of them have started graying and as they smile, the wrinkles on their faces emphasize the wisdom that only comes with age. All protocol is ignored for now. The alumni of UEA are simply happy to be back home. They walk in and out of the Main Hall to view the exhibitions on the side; as displayed by the three participating universities: Makerere University, University of Nairobi and University of Dar es Salaam. They finally settle in the Main Hall to participate in the other activities of the day.

The University Main Hall is at this moment transformed into what it was in the 1960s, when scholars from the continent and beyond came here to participate in powerful public debate and discourse. It was in this Main Hall that a strong spirit and sense of Pan Africanism was nurtured; a spirit that was to spread throughout the continent and cause major political paradigm shifts and result into independence of some of the African States. To bring this out clearly is the perfect choice of Africa’s celebrated writer, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, who is set to give a keynote address on ‘Makerere Dreams: Language and New Frontiers of Knowledge.’ Before the Keynote Speaker comes on stage, the Chairperson of Makerere University Council Eng. Wana Etyem welcomes all to Makerere University

Former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Livingstone Luboobi (2nd Row R) and Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E. Patrick Edwards share a light moment. Front Row is Rwot Ananiya Akera, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's former Roommate while 3rd Row Right is Prof. Josephine Nambooze.
Former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Livingstone Luboobi (2nd Row R) and Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E. Patrick Edwards share a light moment. Front Row is Rwot Ananiya Akera, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s former Roommate while 3rd Row Right is Prof. Josephine Nambooze.

He reminds the gathering that this commemoration is part of the wider celebrations of 90 years of Makerere University and he is grateful for the initiators of the celebrations including former Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba. He is in the same vein grateful to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu for steering the commemoration to such a tremendous moment. The Chairperson of Council is particularly grateful to the Government of Uganda for the continued support to higher education in the upcoming student loan scheme.
Amidst a thunderous applause, Eng. Wana Etyem then requests the alumni of the University of London and alumni of the UEA to stand up for recognition. They rise to their feet and wave to the crowd with wide jovial smiles. It is a happy hour.

The Keynote Speaker is introduced by the Makerere University Chancellor, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera.  “I was one of the first students to register for the UEA degrees. I went to the University of Nairobi. UEA must have been an innocent victim of political ignorance. Is it possible to resurrect the UEA in one form or another?” he wonders. “It is now my singular honour and pleasure to invite Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o to give the key note address,” he adds, as the crowd gives a befitting welcome to this illustrious son of Africa, who confidently walks to the podium clad in a white long sleeved shirt and a smile on his face. The Main Hall is filled to capacity, the gallery overflows. In the audience are Government officials including the former Prime Minister Hon. Apolo Nsibambi, cultural representatives like the former Katikiiro of Buganda Eng. J.B Walusimbi, Political leaders like the UPC President Olara Otunnu, Members of Staff from MUASA, MASA and NUEI, representatives from the diplomatic missions and students from both Makerere University and neighboring Secondary Schools.

The Nyerere family poses for a group photo with Rwot Ananiya Akera.
The Nyerere family poses for a group photo with Rwot Ananiya Akera.

“I find it interesting that people ask me where I was educated every now and then. They hope I will say an American or British University. But I always say I was educated at Makerere University, and I wrote my books in Makerere, Kampala,” said Prof. Ngugi in his opening remarks. “I feel truly grateful for the honour of bringing me back to the scene of many incredible memories. It was on this hill that year after year beginning in 1961, we celebrated the realization of a dream fought for in the streets of Dar, Nairobi and Kampala for over sixty years. The Makerere Student’s Guild with its tradition of free and fair elections had already undermined the colonial practices but anticipated this moment. I entered Makerere University in July 1959, a colonial subject of white settler state and left in 1964, a citizen of an independent black Republic. In a way, Makerere of my time was a personal paradise. Makerere opened the space of my imagination,” he reminisced.

Prof. Ngugi decried the absence of continuous works in native languages. “What we can question is the fact that our various fields of knowledge of Africa are in many ways rooted in the entire colonial tradition of the outsider looking in. Our knowledge of Africa is largely filtered through European languages and their vocabulary. How many historians, Africans and non-Africans alike, have ever written a single document in an African language? How many researchers have even retained the original field notes in words spoken by the primary informant? I have seen prizes being announced for the promotion of African literature but only on condition that the entries are not in an African language. Can you imagine the horror it would raise if someone offered a prize for the promotion of French literature but only on condition that the participants write in Zulu?” he added. He rebuked African governments for turning their backs on African languages by denying them resources.

Dr. Okello Ogwang (2nd L) and Dr. Susan Kiguli (L) after presenting the plaque to Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o (2nd R) as the Chancellor Prof. Mondo Kagonyera (R) beams.
Dr. Okello Ogwang (2nd L) and Dr. Susan Kiguli (L) after presenting the plaque to Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o (2nd R) as the Chancellor Prof. Mondo Kagonyera (R) beams.

Dr. Okello Ogwang, Dean of School of Languages and Literature and Dr. Susan Kiguli of the same School, presented Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o with a plaque for his keynote address and also as a prominent alumni of the school. He had paid a courtesy visit to the School earlier in the morning. The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs. Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, thanked Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o for the address adding that he had indeed sent the congregation into deep thought on the need to generate scholarly material in indigenous languages.

A bronze bust of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere that was erected to mark the occasion.
A bronze bust of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere that was erected to mark the occasion.

A key highlight of the commemoration was the launch of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere book, ‘Women’s Freedom: Women are Eagles, Not Chickens,’ and the unveiling of the Mwalimu bust by His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who was represented by Tourism Minister, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu. The bust stands tall in bronze mounted on a white pedestal in the garden between Edge road and the Makerere University Main Road, overlooking the Freedom Square. From its position, one could rightly say that the late Julius Nyerere, with a smile on his face as seen in this bust, is staring at the historic Freedom Square, to remind all graduating from this Square to stay true to their heritage and carry on the spirit of Pan-Africanism. “With these accolades as the only Chancellor of the University of East Africa which we are celebrating today, it is worthy to have a Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere Monument on the Main Campus of Makerere University, his proud alma mater. 

Mwalimu Nyerere’s efforts perhaps kicked off with his selflessness vision of a united Tanzania. President Nyerere and Sheikh Abeid Karume of Zanzibar were foresighted in uniting Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form Tanzania. The EAC later broke down in 1977 partly because the principled Nyerere was incompatible with Idi Amin,” said Hon. Kamuntu. The former Chairperson of Makerere University Council, Hon. Mathew Rukikaire, who doubles as a former Guild President of UEA in 1963, was grateful to President Yoweri Museveni for laboring to realize the dream of an integrated East Africa engineered by Julius Nyerere.

Dignitaries pose with a dummy of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's book, ‘Women’s Freedom: Women are Eagles, Not Chickens,’
Dignitaries pose with a dummy of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s book, ‘Women’s Freedom: Women are Eagles, Not Chickens,’

Hon. Charles Makongoro Nyerere, a son to the late Julius Nyerere and a Member of the East African Legislative Assembly, thanked the organizers for honouring his father and emphasized that if Nyerere’s book had been written in current times, it would have indeed brought out many more prominent women both at local and international levels, who have raised to high profile positions. He was also grateful that the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate at Makerere University had deemed it fit to dedicate the proceeds from the sale of Mwalimu Nyerere’s book to help bright but disadvantaged female students attain education. Hon. Makongoro made a humble appeal that something should be done to change the fact that his late father is still the only Chancellor of UEA. He said his father would not have been pleased to remain the only holder of this position forever. 99-year old Mzee Anania Akera, a former roommate of Nyerere in 1944, attended the function to the delight of all, especially the Nyerere family.

Two prominent alumni of the University of East Africa from each country were awarded for their service over the years. The awards were presented by Dr. Martin Aliker, the Chairperson Council of UEA assisted by David Kahundha Muhwezi, the Makerere University Secretary:

  • From Makerere University; Prof. Charles Lwanga Mark Olweny, Professor Livingstone Sserwadda Luboobi and Mrs. Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, were awarded.
  • University of Dar es Salaam awarded H.E  President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Prof. Issa Gulamhussein Shivji.
  • University of Nairobi awarded Prof. (Mrs) Florida Amakobe Karani and Eng. Austin Salmon Kitololo

 The Vice Chancellors of participating universities shared their prospects of higher education:

L-R: VC UDSM-Prof. Mukanadla Rwekaza, VC UoNBI- Prof. George Magoha, VC Makerere University-Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu and the Chancellor Makerere University-Prof. Mondo Kagonyera

“It has been criminal to keep your child at home for the last 11 years in Kenya. This has been done diligently. A lot of money has been put into this. Kenya has a budget of 1.6 Trillion and education is going to take the biggest part of this budget. Government has invested highly in infrastructure and we now have 33 universities, 14 of which are fully chartered. This has expanded the capacity of the Kenyan students who are currently 370,000; both in private and public universities.  Our greatest challenge is in Science and technology. The number of students doing science and technology is about 25% only,” said Prof. George Magoha, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi. “We have retained our staff because the  government has been listening  to staff unions. We collect six billion annually and are now focusing on training staff to write proposals. 25% of this budget comes from research,” he added

“The Uganda Vision 2040 provides plans and strategies to transform the Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern, prosperous and competitive upper middle-income country within 30 years. To attain this projected level of development, the country will have to exploit its enormous opportunities including oil and gas, tourism, minerals, ICT business, abundant youthful labour force, strategic geographical location, fresh water resources, industries and agriculture.

These opportunities can only be harnessed through strengthening the physical infrastructure; Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation (STEI); and above all through concentration on human capital development,” said Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University.

“Some of the interviews for positions in the University of Dar es Salaam were held here. The instruments designed here, so Makerere was the cradle for Dar. Every visit here is an opportunity for us to extend our gratitude. I would like us to focus on the question of whether we still value quality education or we are simply focusing on big numbers of students. The numbers are high of universities, students, lecturers, etc, but we need to ponder on the quality. Do we appreciate the role of education in our emancipation? Yes the three universities are bigger but are they better?  Are they universities or simply glorified high schools? Are our universities doing enough, like investing in cooperation amongst ourselves as opposed to cooperation with universities abroad only? Are we spending our meager resources wisely? The resources expended on administrative overheads could be spent in the active involvement of education? I am positive that we will prosper if we provide education in cooperation rather than competition,” advised Prof. Mukanadla Rwekaza, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam.

A souvenir magazine for 90 years of Makerere University, highlighting the strides taken in research and innovations across the nine colleges of Makerere University and the School of Law, was launched by Education Minister, Jessica Alupo, as part of the celebrations. The magazine, Mak@90, is a product of a partnership between the Public Relations Office of Makerere University and The New Vision. The commemoration was sponsored by UNESCO, which was represented by the Secretary General, Mr. Augustine Omare-Okurut, and the Swedish Government represented by the First Secretary Dr. Patri Pohjolainen. 

Hon. Jessica Alupo unveils the Mak@90 Magazine as dignitaries applaud.
Hon. Jessica Alupo unveils the Mak@90 Magazine as dignitaries applaud.

The Guests were treated to a cocktail to wind down the commemoration and entertainment from the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF).

Article by Marion Alina

Photo selection by Elias Tuhereze


Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution



Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative



By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23




The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, informs applicants wishing to be admitted to Bachelor of Laws Private for 2022/2023 Academic year but failed to submit their application online to submit their applications from Friday 23rd to Friday 30th September, 2022 at a non-refundable fee of 50,000/= (Fifty thousand shillings only).

The applicants MUST have passed the Pre-entry Examinations for Bachelor of Laws.

Diploma/Degree holders should submit certified copies of their academic transcript to Room
315 Level 3, Senate Building.

Applicants who have already been admitted need not apply.

For any additional information, contact Undergraduate Admissions Offices 301/303 for A’Level Applicants and Office 315 for Diploma/Degree holders.

Date: 22nd September, 2022

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