Frederick Mbabaali Kyazze speaks with firmness as he shares his life-changing experience at Makerere University. The 62 year old senior citizen of average height, dark complexion and a lean frame has recently retired from Makerere University after fourteen years of dedicated service as a Senior Assistant Registrar. Tiny wrinkles of untold wisdom are beginning to form on his face. His eyes are a deep haven of thoughts and exude intelligence. He turns up for this interview in a neatly pressed cream suit, which reminds me that neat suits have been his trademark over the years. He begins to speak, carefully choosing his words.
Joining the Transcripts Office
In the year 2000, Kyazze joined Makerere University as an Assistant Registrar, Senate Division. After only six months, the hardworking man was assigned a bigger responsibility to head the Transcripts Office. His immediate Supervisor at the time, who later became Academic Registrar of Makerere University Mr. Amos Olar Odur, referred to this move as a vote of confidence in Kyazze. He was subsequently duly appointed to the rank of Senior Assistant Registrar.
“At that time, there was a general public outcry about transcripts in Makerere University. I recall a famous joke on one of the local FM stations that ‘okufuna transcript e Makerere, bakutuma mu ggulu,’ loosely translated as ‘it is easier to go to heaven than to get a transcript from Makerere University.’ Now as Head of the Transcripts Office, I knew it was time to roll up my sleeves and get to serious work; and I resolved to endeavour to not only do good, but do it well too,” Kyazze reminisces.
“I received a letter transferring me to the Transcripts Office with immediate effect. At about 2:00pm, I entered my new office and started work, without induction. My predecessor, Rose Bwire, was also needed in another unit immediately. I take this opportunity to kindly request the concerned officials to pay attention to induction of new officers when transfers are made. I had some challenges in adjusting to my new role minus induction but with the guidance of a few colleagues, I later found my way around,” he says. This new development came with additional responsibilities for Kyazze.
It is then that Kyazze learnt of the various hindrances to fast acquisition of transcripts at Makerere University. Cases of missing/misplaced marks, late submission of marks and submission of incomplete marks were the most common reasons for delayed transcripts. Kyazze would have to face the students one after another and explain to them that everything possible was being done to process their transcripts. He and his team, would then work backwards to resolve the issue with the relevant department. But this did not always go well with the affected students, some of whom would throw insults at him. It is from such incidents that the then Acting Academic Registrar (AR), Sebastian Ngobi referred to him as the punching bag of Makerere University. “This nick-name was because whoever had issues with their transcript came to me. A student would not know which lecturer or department had not submitted results in time. I was the face of the University and I took the punches. I could not reveal to the students where the problem lay even when I knew it. I used to call myself the devil that the public loves to hate,” he recalls with nostalgia.
Transformation of the Transcripts Office
Kyazze shares that most of the Department’s operations were manual at the time. Ordinary typewriters were used to inscribe on the transcripts. Faculties submitted results manually on a results sheet. This contributed to further delays in processing transcripts. Nonetheless, Kyazze inspired his team to do their best in the circumstances. But in 2003, the Academic Registrar’s Department started automating its processes.
In 2009, Kyazze became the Acting Deputy Registrar in charge of the Examinations and Transcripts Division. This was an internal arrangement in the AR’s Department, pending confirmation from the Human Resource Directorate. This new role required Kyazze to timetable university wide examinations, draft budgets for these exams and writing to the various Faculties requesting them to nominate external examiners. Nonetheless, he continued to help out in the Transcripts office too.
Kyazze recalls that in 2009, the then Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba walked into his office and directed that transcripts be ready for issuing on graduation day. “This was the beginning of major change. We worked so hard even on 26th December to ensure that transcripts for the January 2010 graduation ceremony were ready. I am glad that by graduation, we had 80% of the transcripts ready. The remaining 20% were processed shortly afterwards. Commendably, the VC made sure that we were properly and promptly rewarded for these extra hours and we felt so motivated,” he narrates with a smile. Early processing of transcripts now became a culture and continues to date, save for few problem cases. Kyazze partly attributes this to the computerized management of data.
Another transformation has been in the date the Academic transcript bears. Initially since the 1980s, transcripts would carry the date of graduation, but this has since been revised to the date of completion since graduation comes much later in the following year and this led to delays in issuing definitive transcripts. Only the certificate bears the date of graduation.
During his tenure, Kyazze initiated improved furnishing and equipping of the transcripts office. “We produce transcripts massively. With time, I realized that storage of these transcripts was becoming a challenge. Since at that time the AR’s Department was managing its own budget, I proposed procurement of more filing cabinets across the department and this was done,” he explains in reference to the permanently fixed cabinets.
Paradoxically with the massive production of transcripts, thousands remain uncollected. The AR’s department continues to call out to graduates to pick their transcripts spurning as far back as the 1990s
During his tenure at Makerere University, Kyazze has interacted with and served people from all walks of life. He vividly recalls a time when he attended to Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala. “A colleague, Simon Sagala who was the Manager of the University Printery at the time, came running and informed me that Cardinal Wamala was in the queue with students waiting to see me. I requested that the Cardinal be ushered in. He was here on behalf of a Priest from Kabale, whose transcript was urgently needed in Rome. I was able to help the Cardinal that very day,” says Kyazze. He also recalls having attended to the former Minister of Education, Hon. Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire and former Deputy Chief Justice Leticia Kikonyogo, who were personally inquiring about their children’s transcripts. He is particularly happy that his signature is out there on thousands of transcripts. “This is a legacy that I am so proud of. I know my name will be remembered occasionally by these people and I am grateful to God for the opportunity to have served,” he says.
For the time spent at Makerere University serving students, staff and the public, Kyazze has learnt that it is imperative to remain ethical and composed in all situations. “I have learnt that it is important to stick to ethics and guard against compromise. For example, some people would come here requesting that the date of birth on their transcripts be changed to suit their needs and I would tell it straight to their faces that this cannot be done, no matter what they wanted to offer in return or the position they held in society. Some would get angry, throw insults and slam the door on their way out, but I eventually got used to these outbursts and stuck to my principles,” asserts Kyazze.
Kyazze has had to handle numerous sensitive investigation cases related to forged academic qualifications and transcripts. He has also had to turn up as a key witness in lawsuits filed against Makerere University in relation to transcripts. He affirms that integrity and sticking to his principles has bailed him out in times like these.
The Family man
Kyazze is a proud father of four; two boys and two girls. He has single-handedly raised his children since his dear wife, Betty Kyazze, passed on in 2002. “Fortunately I had been the type of father who leaves work and heads home straight away. This has allowed me ample time to groom my children,” he says. Two of his children have since graduated and the other two are steadily following suit. In his free time, Kyazze will be found glued to a current affairs program or watching a television documentary. He also has a deep passion for reading on a wide variety of topics.
What next after retirement?
Kyazze has now retired from Makerere University after what he describes as a successful career. He is nonetheless concerned about the delays in receiving retirement packages at Makerere University. “It is a challenge when Staff members retire and their funds are not released on time. So one finds oneself struggling with a number of expenses and sometimes their retirement projects freeze,” he explains.
Nonetheless, this highly schooled French and German tutor has aggressively plunged into offering consultancy services in higher education and languages. Kyazze also proof-reads and edits manuscripts in English, French, Luganda and German for publishing.
Kyazze’s former roles at Makerere University have since been taken over by Richard Byarugaba, who is also in charge of the Transcripts Office and closely worked with Kyazze for over three years.
Kyazze the Professional Teacher
Frederick Mbabaali Kyazze is a teacher by profession and graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s Degree and Concurrent Diploma in Education in 1977. He specialized in languages (French and German). Kyazze had wanted to study law but this was hampered by a Government directive following the turbulent political times of the 1970s. “I recall that the Asians and many expatriate teachers had been expelled from Uganda, so there was a dire need for teachers. The late President Idi Amin’s government gave a directive that a large quota of admitted students be channeled into teaching. One afternoon in 1974 the then Minister of Education, Brigadier Barnabas Kili, came and harangued us in the Makerere University Main Building, telling us that we were to become teachers whether we wanted it or not, thus ‘conscripting’ us into the teaching army ” he narrates in a low tone.
Kyazze then opted to teach German since he had studied it at Bachelors, to broaden his A-level choice of History, French and Literature in English. At first, Kyazze was not allowed to take German as a teaching subject since he was a beginner, but with his excellent grades, the then Dean of Education, Prof. Rukare reasoned that Kyazze be given a chance.
Kyazze graduated from Makerere University to teach languages in Secondary Schools. He taught German in Kibuli Secondary School and Mengo Senior School concurrently (1977 -1980). He also taught French at Kampala High School and Trinity College Nabbingo.
“In 1982 the Head of the German Department at Makerere University, Dr. Jörg Braunert came looking for me. He asked if I could teach German at Makerere University. I had passed German with flying colours, under the guidance of Frau Ingrid Hills and Dr. Brigitte Kochan, my lecturers. I obliged and returned to Makerere as a Teaching Assistant,” he explains. He was given a two year renewable contract, which was later renewed thrice. Kyazze says he indelibly profited from teaching French and German because this enabled him to secure scholarships to attend short term training and refresher courses in France (1977 and 1983), Burundi (1989) and Germany (1978, 1991 and 1995). He has also participated in numerous annual East African German Teachers’ Seminars under Nairobi’s Goethe Institut’s auspices.
Kyazze later stopped teaching and enrolled for a Masters in French at Makerere University. Upon graduating with a Masters in 1997, Kyazze returned to the classroom to teach languages in secondary school. He was one of the most sought after French examiners by Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB).
In 1999, Makerere University advertised for administrative jobs in the Academic Registrar’s Department. This signaled a shift in career for the illustrious Frederick Kyazze Mbabaali. He set foot in the AR’s Department, where he has left an unquestionable legacy.
Article by Marion Alina
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG