Prof. Joe Oloka-Onyango gave an inaugural lecture titled, Ghosts and the Law, in which he revealed that the Ugandan law has long been haunted by ghosts, which take on varied shapes and sizes as the Common law itself. He nevertheless remained hopeful that one day, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) will eventually triumph, leading to reconciliation between the two ghosts; one backward-looking in support of extra-constitutional overthrow of government, and another which aspires for the protection of fundamental human rights, with the hope that the good one will prevail over her evil sibling.
“As we celebrate 20 years of the 1995 Constitution and approach the 50th anniversary of the decision in the case, it is the most appropriate time to look back and consider which of the ‘twins’ of the ‘Ghost of ex parte Matovu’ has been most successful in influencing the Ugandan body politic. What does the future portend for the life of these fraternal twins?”
The drums sounded as the Vice Chancellor’s procession comprising the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Ag. Principal-School of Law and academicians clad in gowns, led Prof. Joe Oloka-Onyango to the Main Hall, amidst a colourful performance from the Mak Department of Performing Arts and Film.
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu welcomed the audience comprising invited guests, the family of Prof. Joe Oloka-Onyango, intellectuals/scholars, staff, students, the legal fraternity and well-wishers to the Joe Oloka-Onyango inaugural lecture. He thanked the audience that filled the Main Hall to full capacity for braving the heavy rains.
The Vice Chancellor highlighted that Inaugural lectures are a central part of the University’s academic life. “These events are held to commemorate the inaugural lecturer's appointment to full professorship. Today’s inaugural lecture provides a platform for the academic (Prof. Oloka-Onyango) to present the body of research that he has been focusing on during his career,” said Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu.
The Acting Principal-School of Law, Dr. Damalie Naggita Musoke officially introduced Professor Joe Oloka Onyango to the audience. Prof. Oloka-Onyango’s credentials speak of a distinguished career in the Law profession as an academic. He has served the School of Law Makerere University as a Dean in the then Faculty of Law as well as Director of the Human Rights and Peace Centre. He is also an active litigant and human right activist and has served as a Special Rapporteur on Globalization and Human Rights of the United Nations. He has been a visiting Professor at a number of Universities that include the University of Cape Town, Oxford and United Nations University in Tokyo.
He spent his sabbatical 2014/2015 as a Full Bright Professor at George Washington University in the USA and Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS) in South Africa.
Professor Oloka Onyango is widely published and some of his most recent publications include; Battling over Human Rights: Twenty Essays on Law, Politics and Governance (Laanga Publishing, 2015); When Courts Do Politics (Cornell University, Debating Love, Politics and Identity in East Africa: The Case of Kenya an d Uganda among others.
With such an admirable profile, Prof. Joe Oloka-Onyango clad in full academic regalia energetically moved from the high table to the Podium to address the captivated audience. Professor Oloka-Onyango paid tribute to his late father, Bernard Onyango who always emphasized that one is proven a Professor only after delivering an inaugural lecture. Prof. Oloka-Onyango acknowledged his parents for setting the standard for excellence in all spheres of life very high. His mother, Mrs. Lucy Onyango attended the inaugural lecture. He also appreciated the constant inspirational support of his wife, Professor Sylvia Tamale, Children Kwame Sobukwe Ayepa and Samora Okech Sanga and his in-laws from the Nkima Clan.
During his presentation on the Ghosts and the Law, Professor Oloka-Onyango explained the various instances when the Law is inflicted with ghostly situations quoting the case of ex parte Matovu as illustrated in the case Uganda v. Commissioner of Prisons, ex parte Matovu, whose case will make 50 years in 2017. He said although dead, ex parte Matovu is still a domineering presence in the law, with effects being felt in all branches of study or practice. He explored the relationship between the law, politics and society and the impact that connection has on the protection of Human Rights, specifically constitutionalism.
In his presentation, Professor Oloka-Onyango explored situations how we get ghosts in the Law, the Political question Doctrine and how it contrasts with Public interest Litigation as a form of change-oriented and socially-conscious lawyering. He said the legislature has continued to concentrate on the Political Question Doctrine and in this way deny the populace their economic, social and cultural rights.
Emphasizing the need to do away with the Ghosts in the Law, Prof. Oloka-Onyango shared powerful quote from Okot p’Bitek, Song of Lawino:
“ The smell of carbolic soap;
Makes me sick;
And the smell of powder
Provokes the ghosts in my head;
It is necessary to fetch a goat;
From my mother’s brother;
The sacrifice over;
The ghost-dance drum must sound;
The ghost be laid;
And my peace restored.”
Prof. Oloka-Onyango mentioned particular cases that further enlightened the audience on how Ugandan law has long been haunted by ghosts.
“All these are the ‘Ghosts of History Past, Present and Future.’ In the arena of Constitutional Law and governance the ghost appears in the form of the Political Question Doctrine (PQD), a concept most associated with the 1966 High Court decision, Uganda v. Commissioner of Prisons, ex parte Matovu,” he said.
“But as with all spiritual beings—such as the Roman God, Janus—there are two sides to the case. In other words, there are not just one but (at least) two ghosts of ex parte Matovu. There is the backward-looking one which supported the extra-constitutional overthrow of government in 1966 and paved the way for military dictatorship, judicial restraint and conservatism. And in the same case, there is its reverse which “jettisoned formalism” to the winds, overruled legal “technicalities,” and underlined the need for the protection of fundamental human rights. The jettisoning formalism decision eventually opened the way to a robust and growing industry of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Uganda.”
Fortunately, Prof. Oloka-Onyango provided hope to Ugandans and the world at large when he pointed out that the “good ghost” fought back taking on the form of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and the quest for democratic constitutionalism.
He shared with the audience the battle between the Political Question Doctrine and Public Interest Litigation that mainly centres around the status of economics, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) and on other issues in which the Judiciary is too timid to directly confront the Executive and Parliament.
“That battle brings the two ghosts of ex parte Matovu into head-on collision, i.e. The one which allows the government to escape all its obligations to ensure that human rights are respected, and the other which underlines the point that the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights also attaches the State,” he said.
Ending his presentation, Prof. Oloka-Onyango remained hopeful that Public Interest Litigation will one day triumph.
“Hopefully, in this battle over destiny, Public Interest Litigation will eventually triumph. That should lead to reconciliation between the two ghosts with the good one of them prevailing over her evil sibling,” he remarked.
Still basking in the spotlight of this academic milestone, Prof. Oloka-Onyango commended the personalities who inspired him to become an academic. He acknowledged Frederick Jjuuko, Deogratius Mabirizi, the Late Richard Kiwanuka (RIP) and George Okoth Obbo who interested him in academic teaching and research.
He made mention of his classmates that included Kenneth Kakuru (now Court of Appeal Justice), Richard Musajja Karyegesa, the late Patrick Karegeya and Donald Nyakairu whom he described as his first intellectual co-travelers.
Commenting on the inaugural lecture presentation, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu agreed with Prof. Oloka-Onyango that we indeed had ghosts in the law.
Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu noted that the lecture provided an in-depth exploration of the doctrine of the Separation of Powers that is the relationship between the three arms of government, namely, the Executive (the President and Cabinet), the Legislature, and the Judiciary. He observed that Prof. Oloka-Onyango’s study calls for particular attention to the courts of law and their obligations when faced with issues to do with the protection of human rights.
Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu upheld the fact that the Constitution is the most important legal document of the very many laws, regulations and statutes that we have in Uganda. Thus Prof. Onyango’s lecture underscored the important place in which Constitutional Law should be placed when considering matters to do with governance, human rights and the improved social well-being of Ugandan society.
“I take this opportunity to thank Prof. Onyango for his profound insights and for having greatly educated us on the various aspects of Constitutional Law doctrine. The lecture was a multi-disciplinary intellectual tour covering a wide range of subjects from Literature to Philosophy,” proclaimed the Vice Chancellor amidst applause from the audience.
The inaugural lecture was also graced by members of the Judiciary that included Her Lordship, Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza of the Supreme Court, Justices Kenneth Kakuru and Stephen Egonda-Ntende from Court of Appeal.
“As a teacher and a researcher, I have variously drawn inspiration from colleagues like Mahmood Mamdani, Busingye Kabumba, Sallie Simba Kayunga, Ben Shokoro Twinomugisha, Frederick Egonda-Ntende, J.J. Barya, James Gathii, Celestine Nyamu, among many other’’ said Prof. Oloka-Onyango.
The lecture was organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor, spearheaded by Dr. Okello Ogwang-the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, The Academic Registrar and the Inaugural Lecture Committee consisting of: Prof. Elly N. Sabiiti-Chairperson, and members that include, Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire, Prof. Ruth Mukama, Prof. David Bakibinga, Prof. H. Oryem-Origa and Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi.
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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.
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Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG