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A winning team: Bernard Onyango (R.I.P) and Gershom Eyoku (R.I.P)

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The two were part of the formidable team that oversaw the successful implementation of the affirmative action for more girls to attain University education in Uganda
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The Department of the Academic Registrar (AR) lost two former Academic Registrars, credited with laying a firm foundation for the Department. The late Bernard Onyango served in the Department from 1963 to 1992, first as a Deputy Registrar and later as Academic Registrar. He was laid to rest on Thursday 17th October 2013. The late Gershom Eyoku served in different capacities from August 1978 to Jan 1992, then as an Acting Academic Registrar until his retirement in June 1996. He was laid to rest on Friday 4th October 2013 in Asamuk, Amuria District.

Below is a tribute to them as told by a former workmate, Mr. James G. Okello, Deputy Registrar, Head of Senate Division. Mr. Okello had the privilege of working in the Academic Registrar’s Department under both men, who were a strong force; driving the Academic Registrar’s Department forward even throughout the turbulent political times of the 1970s.

Gershom EyokuOne of the most outstanding contributions of the late Bernard Onyango was the initiation of the 1.5 scheme to enable more female students’ access University education. Mr. James Okello recalls how a speech was drafted for the President to read out at the Graduation ceremony in…. Part of this speech emphasized that Makerere University should initiate a mechanism to ensure that more girls are admitted without compromising the merit system. Bernard Onyango was the brain behind this speech.

“He came to me and asked me to initiate a draft which he improved. Everything happened so fast because the late Onyango knew how to lobby. The speech was sent to the President a week before graduation. He approved the idea and read it out during the Friday graduation; which was the only day reserved for this ceremony then. On Saturday morning, Onyango came to my house. He was happy that the President had read the speech with the female scheme idea in it. He suggested that we head to office and start drafting a proposal for Senate to consider in the coming week,” recalls a jovial Mr. Okello who was then serving as Personal Assistant to Onyango. After drafting the document for Senate, the two went for a drink to celebrate this partial achievement. “There were no posh bars by then. We just went to a pub in the vicinity of the University and had a beer each,” adds the nostalgic Okello.

By combining his excellent lobbying skills and powers as Secretary to Senate, Onyango managed to get Senate to accept the proposal for the 1.5 additional points to female students applying for the Government scholarship. Then University Senate then tasked the Academic Registrar’s Department to detail how the scheme would work. The late Prof. William Ssenteza Kajubi who was then Vice Chancellor and Chair of Senate complemented the efforts of this great team by ensuring that this scheme was successfully implemented after all parties had been brought on board regarding its dynamics.

In the Academic Department was another brilliant and highly committed person, the late Mr. Gershom Eyoku, who was tasked with coming up with the mathematical formula on how exactly the scheme would work. “Eyoku was initially hesitant because he feared that the scheme would compromise the merit system, but after Onyango explained the intention and merits, he (Eyoku) got started on the math. He came up with the 1.5 points which were discussed at other fora and thereafter adopted,” explains Okello.

 

The Scheme took effect in 1990 and continues to significantly contribute to the increased enrolment of female students. The graduation records show that only about 25% of the graduands were female compared to 75% of their male counterparts prior to the scheme’s introduction. The pattern has changed drastically courtesy of this policy and the private admission scheme; for example, during the last graduation held in January 2013, the figures were 46.7% of female students compared to 53.3% of male students. The successful implementation at Makerere attracted other countries to come to Uganda to benchmark with Makerere. These countries; Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, have lowered admission cut-off points for female candidates.

As Academic Registrar, Bernard Onyango did not tolerate any examination malpractice. Culprits of the same (both students and staff) were dismissed if found guilty and also publicized in the press. Okello recalls that before exams started, Onyango would issue a strongly worded letter to all faculties cautioning against examination malpractice and stating that names of culprits would be publicized in the press.

“Onyango had a policy that University affairs should not be managed in the press and any negative stories about Makerere University in the press were treated as a tip for internal investigations to start. But when it came to examination malpractice, Mr. Onyango besides getting them dismissed from the university would publicize the names of the culprits in the national newspapers. This served as a big deterrent for those who would have otherwise been involved. We sometimes referred to him as IGG because he did not tolerate any form of malpractice,” asserts Okello.
Onyango in an effort to ensure that persons in leadership in the Academic Units are accountable to staff Members in their units, initiated a policy of election of Deans and Heads of Department. This practice is now enshrined in the universities and other tertiary institutions act and resulted in many young academician taking up leadership positions in the university. Initially such positions fell vacant after the departure by retirement or death of the Office bearers.

Onyango also worked hard to attract scholarships and would go to embassies and make a case for scholarships at Makerere. He was a leader who mentored some of the Vice Chancellors too and would encourage colleagues with leadership qualities to take up positions. He particularly encouraged all employees in the AR’s Department to read each and every document of the University, irrespective of its content or discipline. He emphasized that the team in AR’s Department had to be informed in order to ably contribute and give guidance to whatever was discussed in meetings.

“The pass mark was initially at 40%. He would encourage us to read what the situation was like in other universities and compare with Makerere. Eventually he initiated a policy that the pass mark be raised to 50% as was the practice in other first-class universities. He trained the late Eyoku to take up after him,” adds Okello.

With this continuity ball set rolling, the shift from Onyango to Eyoku was seamless. Onyango informed colleagues in the AR’s Department that he was going on leave but would not come back. That signaled his end of service, as he had clocked 60 and was due for retirement. It also paved way for the fruits he had sown in the Department to be tried and tested in the able leadership of Eyoku. “As a trained mathematician, Eyoku’s style of leadership was either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No.’ He was highly principled,” explains Okello. “Mr Eyoku was actually approached by the Minister of Education by then to take up the mantle from Mr. Onyango but he declined explaining although he had amassed enough experience, he couldn’t fit in the big shoes Mr. Onyango left behind,” adds Okello.

The two men are remembered for having shown interest in all affairs of the University and were involved in almost all processes of the University right from admission of students, registration, graduation and teaching. 

Mr. Alfred Namoah is the current Academic Registrar, having joined the Department in 2000 as a Senior Assistant Registrar. He confirms that the late Onyango and the late Eyoku’s records are impeccable.

“They worked at a time when record management was a purely manual process with no aid of ICTs and yet they had a highly organized system of tracking all records. What they did is admirable,” asserts Namoah. The AR’s Department now handles bigger numbers of students compared to the times then.

“Onyango highly stood out in terms of all University processes, where he emphasized integrity at all levels.  Eyoku on the other hand had all the policies of the University on his finger tips. He knew the time a particular policy had come into effect and at what meeting of the Senate,” adds Namoah. This insight is also shared by Dr. Jessica Aguti, a senior lecturer in the College of Education and External Studies, who also doubles as a relative to the late Eyoku. ‘Eyoku is remembered for his sharp knowledge and memory of Senate minutes and was fondly referred to as the Senate encyclopedia,” she says. Eyoku is said to have guided senate by researching on various options and laying them before senate to make a decision. Most of the decisions were hardly challenged in the courts of law because they were well thought out and based on evidence.

The AR’s Department still upholds integrity as a core value. “You need people of high integrity to work here because we deal with very sensitive documents. There are students who will want to change their documents if they see a loophole in the system. I am glad that we have maintained our integrity. The team in the AR’s Department is highly professional, although there is need for improvement in customer care in some of our sections,” concludes Namoah.

Onyango and Eyoku certainly laid firm ground and set high standards.
Their legacies live on.   May their souls rest in eternal peace.

By Marion Alina
Public Relations Office

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Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates

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The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (5th L) and Principal CoVAB-Prof. J.D. Kabasa (3rd L) with L-R: Mr. Byakatonda Patrick, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, Mr. Felix Okello, the Mace bearer and Dr. Samuel Majalija at the CoVAB@50 Celebrations Commissioning, 17th June 2021, Nakyesasa-Namulonge.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.

In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.

“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.

“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.

She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”

Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”

Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK
Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK

Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”

In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.

The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.

“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.

Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.
Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.

The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”

In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.

“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.

She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).

As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”

The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.

Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”

Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.

Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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A male researcher inspects a maize cob in a demonstration plot on 13th August 2010 at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Wakiso Uganda.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.

Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;

  • JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
  • Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
  • Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
  • For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
  • Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
  • Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
  • Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
  • In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

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URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.

Eligibility

  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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