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Makerere is Set For The Next Century, Says Prof. Nawangwe

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“Our promise is that we are set for the next century of service to humanity,” said Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe as the institution on Thursday 25th November 2021 kicked off a series of events to mark its centennial anniversary in October next year. 

It’s a promise that Prof Nawangwe made to more than 100 stakeholders gathered in Freedom Square, Makerere. About other 150 stakeholders and alumni joined the event online through Zoom and YouTube live streaming. Hon. Dan Kidega, the chairperson Makerere@100 Organizing Committee and deputy Makerere University Council Chairperson thanked stakeholders for responding positively to the university invitation and urged them to keep up the spirit in the next series of activities.

But before making the promise, Prof Nawangwe recounted the university’s centennial journey. Makerere started in 1922 as a technical school teaching carpentry and masonry, he said. Then, it became a college. In 1924, medicine, agriculture and teacher training courses were introduced. At the time, students were learning from grass thatched classrooms. 

Within a decade, as the colonial government became cognisant of the impact the college was having, they agreed that more investment was needed. Thus, the 1930s and 1940s were decades of massive expansion. The colonial government turned to Buganda Kingdom requesting for land to expand the university but all kingdom officials were hesitant to give out land, except then Katikiro Martin Lurther Nsibirwa. And his decision to grant Makerere land led to his assassination in 1945. “Nsibirwa signed a document which allowed colonial government to annex land in public interest” Prof. Nawangwe said. “Katikiro was eventually assassinated for that decision on the steps of Namirembe Cathedral where he had gone to pray.” 

 In a period of rapid expansion that followed, Prof. Nawangwe noted that the colonial government solicited money from the 18 districts that made up Uganda at the time, each contributing a minimum 0f 2,500 pounds for infrastructure development of Makerere. After this expansion and its affiliation to the University of London, Makerere attracted more students from across the continent. These became catalysts of change and played a crucial role in shaping their home countries after independence in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Shaping African Leaders

To illustrate Makerere’s influence across the continent, Makerere University Council Chairperson Lorna Magara, quoted Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o– a prominent university alumnus– review of Carol Sicherman’s book; Becoming an African University: Makerere 1922-2000. 

“In its various manifestations in time Makerere University is inseparable from a certain sense of applied Pan-Africanism,”  Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o noted in the review as quoted by Lorna Magara. “In its heyday, it brought together students from East and Central Africa and Nigeria. But the story of Makerere in terms of the glorious and the gory, hope and despair and hope again, is really the story of Africa.”

Government Chief Whip Hon. Thomas Tayebwa also highlighted Makerere’s role in training post-independence Africa leaders. “If you go to Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, among other countries, you will find that people who were running governments after independence were Makerere alumni,” he said. Through literature, Makerere alumni such as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Tayebwa said shaped the minds of Africans not only to fight for independence but also prepared them for post independence leadership. 

Lorna Magara said Makerere@100 organising committee through its history, culture and future documentation sub-committee has embarked on a book project to document the university’s history. The book will have themes on how Makerere has provided skilled human resources for East African society, has contributed knowledge through research and innovation, contributed to democratic governance and the building of social institutions in East Africa, contributed to the economic development of East Africa, contributed to curriculum development in East Africa and the challenges it has faced and continues to face. 

Research and innovation

Prof. Nawangwe said the university has produced cutting edge research and technology such as the electric car—the first on the continent, tuberculosis rapid testing kit which is used globally, the anti-tick vaccines which is undergoing mass production among others. He said the university has produced more than 200 innovations during the pandemic. 

Hon. Thomas Tayebwa challenged the university to do more research that can help the government to transform Uganda by bringing more people in the money economy. He pledged more research and innovation funding from the government. 

Makerere, Prof Nawangwe said, is ready for the challenge. “We will leverage our successes of the past to solve new societal problems,” he said.

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Mak Claims Lion’s Share of Jim Leech Fellowship Cohort 1 2020-2021 Awards

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Female graduands pose for the camera in January 2018 after a session of the 68th Graduation Ceremony, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Photo credit: GMD

Makerere University Alumni have claimed the lion’s share of fellowships awarded by Cohort 1 of the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship 2020-2021. According to the recently concluded selection by Queens University, Canada, sixteen (16) out of the sixty (60) Jim Leech Fellows selected are from Makerere University, seven (7) of them being Mastercard Foundation Scholars/Alumni.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) at eleven (11) had the second highest number of fellows awarded followed by University of Pretoria (South Africa) with seven (7). The University of Abomey Calavi (Benin) followed with four (4) fellows in the program that selected fellows from twenty one (21) institutions.

These included; Africa Nazarene University (Kenya), African Institute for Mathematics (South Africa), Ashesi University (Ghana), Carnegie Mellon University (Rwanda) and Covenant University (Nigeria). Others were Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology all from Nigeria, McGill University (Canada) and Moi University (Kenya).

Mphohadi College (South Africa), Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria), Southern New Hampshire University (United States) and United States International University (Kenya) were the others. The list was completed by University for Development Studies (Ghana), University of Gondar (Ethiopia) and University of Cape Town (South Africa).

We congratulate all Jim Leech Fellows 2020-2021 from Makerere University upon their successful selection.

Please see Downloads for the full list.

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Makerere University 87th Guild President, GRCs Sworn In

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Mrs Winfred Kabumbuli and 87th Guild President Shamim Nambassa during the Swearing in Ceremony. Photo by Alex Mugalu

The newly elected Makerere University Guild President, Cabinet and Guild Representatives have been sworn in today, 26th November 2021 to effectively commence duties.

The swearing-in-ceremony took place at the CTF 2 Auditorium, presided over by the Dean of Students Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli who represented the Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.

On a brilliant event graced by many elders, both the outgoing and incoming students’ representatives, a number of guild representatives from Halls of Residence, Colleges, Schools, Persons with Disabilities, Dag Hammarskjold Hall, Kabanyolo hostels and Galloway Hall were sworn in. The Guild President Ms. Shamim Nambassa and her Guild Cabinet were also sworn in.

87th Guild President Shamim Nambassa taking Oath. Photo by Alex Mugalu
87th Guild President Shamim Nambassa taking Oath. Photo by Alex Mugalu

At the beginning of this month, Ms. ShamimNambassa won the Guild Presidential race after garnering 5,610 Valid Votes, representing 54.16% of the total ballot count. Ms. Nambassa replaced Ivan Ssempijja in the office.

After swearing in, H.E. Nambassa said she is excited to lead the student guild that will usher in Makerere’s 100 years of existence celebrations. “I assume office at a very critical time when Makerere University is about to celebrate 100 years. For the 87 years of the 100 the students’ guild has been around but I am only the 5th lady out of the 87,” Nambassa briefly stated.

Representing the Vice Chancellor, the Dean of Students Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli applauded the outgoing Guild leadership for the good leadership they have exhibited during their term of service.

GRCs taking Oath. Photo by Alex Mugalu
GRCs taking Oath. Photo by Alex Mugalu

“I thank the outgoing guild leadership led by Ivan Ssempijja for the outstanding performance. I must admit that they contributed to quality enhancement of academic and social well being of students.”

Mrs. Kabumbuli also acknowledged the central role played by the guild electoral commission led by chairman William Kananga for organising a petition-less election. “The electoral commission, thank you very much, you are exceptional, excellent much less unsurpassed, indeed you were fit for the purpose, you deserve all the accolades,” she said.

Students With Disabilities swearing in. Photo by Alex Mugalu
Students With Disabilities swearing in. Photo by Alex Mugalu

In a speech read by the Dean of Students, the Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated the newly elected leaders for the triumph. “I congratulate all those who stood for various posts and were successfully elected as well as those who have been appointed in various positions of the executive leadership of the guild, I warmly congratulate you. I also thank the voters who turned up to vote in big numbers”.

Professor Nawangwe also appealed to the newly sworn-in leaders to cooperate with University administration to ensure the wellbeing of students.

 “To the new guild leadership, I appeal to you to begin your work with dedication and humility knowing very well that you have been called upon to serve your university beyond self. Please pay special attention to the University Council, the Senate, the College Boards and other statutory organs, the GRC as well as policies, procedures and regulations of the University. In particular, the guild leadership should join Management to encourage students to pay fees in the remaining time,” Prof Nawangwe added.

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School of Statistics and Planning receives ICT equipment worth $500,000

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The School of Statistics and Planning today received a consignment of ICT equipment worth $500,000 from the East African Community. The purchase of the equipment was facilitated by funding from the World Bank to the East African Community.
The equipment was this morning received by Dr. JB Asiimwe, the HoD of Planning and Applied Statistics, Mr David Kisitu, the Systems Administrator and Mr Frank Namugera from the Department of Planning and Applied Statistics.
The equipment includes 153 desktop computers, laptops, digital cameras, computer tables, power banks, UPS, cooling systems, security cameras, network accessories and computer chairs among other things.
The equipment will go a long way in improving teaching and learning as the university moves to be a research led institution.

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