Officials from the Directorate of Graduate Research and Training (DGRT) on 7th March visited the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) to discuss strategies of enhancing the university’s capacity to increase the number and quality of PhD graduates.
CHUSS has been credited for presenting the highest number of PhD graduands in the last three consecutive graduation ceremonies with over 20 candidates representing 10% of the total university output.
The visit was a result of the issues that emerged during the recent Doctoral convention that was held at Hotel Africana where the Directorate was asked to come up with more concrete ways of engaging with colleges as the university strives to become research–led.
The team led by the new Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training Prof. Edward Bbaale wanted to understand CHUSS strategies for increasing graduate enrollment and how the college plans to uphold and sustain its upper hand in doctoral training.
Statistics show that the CHUSS great PhD harvest comes from sponsored candidates which according to DGRT is a risk. The Directorate wants a sustainability plan and a strategy of locally funded students so that if donors withdraw, the college does not collapse.
The team also wanted to learn and pick a leaf from CHUSS that will be a spring board when visiting other colleges for emulation as best practices.
The other reason for the visit was to hear the bottlenecks to graduate training and research which are solvable through existing policy and policy proposals which have many stages with different gates at the Board of Senate and Quality Assurance among others.
The meeting was attended by the college leadership including Principals, Deans, Heads of Departments, program coordinators at school and departmental levels, administrative and other staff who discussed how they would lead a better and more efficient management and delivery of graduate research and training in the college.
The discussions focused on strategies to increasing on graduate enrollment, sustainability plan for managing graduate education and research at a predominantly Graduate school with experiences from the CHUSS Cohort –based PhD.
Presenting the accreditation, enrolment, graduation and admission status of CHUSS programmes ,the Deputy Director, Graduate Research and Training Dr. Julius Kikooma said the Directorate is focusing on tracking and engaging with colleges on graduate programs.
“In terms of graduate output, CHUSS has two outstanding strength in terms of PhD and Post Graduate Diplomas. We are not bad in terms of numbers but If you can deliver the highest number of PhDs, you can deliver the highest number of master because you are more diverse and have the potential” , Dr. Kikooma implored schools to come up with strategies to increase output from struggling programmes.
The Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training Prof. Edward Bbaale stressed that Makerere is committed to transforming into a research led university and as a Directorate they are committed to that agenda.
Prof. Bbaale reported that during the Doctoral convention at Hotel African, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged colleges to commit on centering graduate training and research in reshaping the graduate education landscape at Makerere University.
The research led agenda according to the Director, has put the DGRT on the steering wheel, exposed them, saying they are bare and, must deliver to shine.
“What management is interested in, is that you need to be more innovative as units and individual faculty. Makerere is great because many units have doctoral faculty with capacity to supervise PhDs who have moved through different levels and are bound to contribute to the strategic agenda”, Prof. Bbale stressed adding that staff can work with other units and jointly develop programmes.
Prof. Bbaale explained that besides administering matters to do with graduate training, the DGRT is charged with responsibility of ensuring a conducive policy environment for training and research and initiating policy reviews and recommendations through relevant organs for change.
“We are here to hear from you because CHUSS is one of the colleges to pick lessons as far as doctoral training is concerned. Congratulations for the largest PhD harvests over the last three years.. it brings on table how to sustainably remain there and increase.
We are also here to understand the roadblocks to a great graduate training and research and those that can be identified and solved through policy changes and also to hear best practices for recommendations”. Prof.Bbaale explained
He said the DGRT is guided by the Board of Research and Graduate Training which plays an oversight function, monitoring and evaluation to ensure compliance to standards with Senate as another gauge. As DGRT, Bbaale said, they provide a coordination role and are dependent on colleges that run day to day programmes.
DGRT planned activities for the year
Prof. Bbaale reported that the Directorate is already engaged in policy reforms and wants to invest time and engage colleges in policy orientations. He added that THE Directorate wants to have a post-doctoral policy as a good potential for graduate programs and a turning point for publications. The proposals is that the university earmarks funds to sponsor candidates outside so that research outputs are owned by Makerere.
In addition, the Director reported that the Directorate wants to be deliberate and intentional on streamlining graduate admission where it has no end, but to be structured and run on cohort – based PhD. The idea is to admit in cohort and follow students’ milestones.
The Director also said, the Directorate was rethinking of the taught PhD but moving hand in hand with PhD by research, to have a structure and curriculum of what the candidate must do at the end of PhD.
Further, Prof.Bbaale said they are working on upgrading the Graduate Handbook and other policies.
Strategies for increasing Graduate enrolment at CHUSS
Representing the Principal CHUSS, the Deputy Principal Assoc. Prof. Eric Awich Ochen said the college established the project coordinating office and a graduate coordinator, an initiative that can be replicated to support the deputy principal, and, a contact point for graduate training in organizing seminars, answering students concerns, mentorship and supporting supervisors.
“This has helped control the drop outs and improve completion rates. Over the last six years, examinations of PhDs has improved and external examiners paid on time. 98% of examiners are happy, well-facilitated and the turn up of reports good at times within two weeks”. Dr. Awich said.
Dr. Awich said the CHUSS has strengthened and established a number of collaborations and attracted capacity building grants for research, graduate and Post Graduate training including Andrew Mellon and Gerda Henkel Foundations among others.
“We seek more opportunities for more cohort and PhD training as the best strategy to help students complete on time. As DGRT, there is need to help the university in identifying more partners”, Dr. Awich submitted.
At the national level, Dr. Awich said, the college works with the UPDF, Uganda Police and Prisons and has signed MoUs with the UPDF Senior Staff command plus over 25 other MoUs with local and international partners which presents an opportunity for Makerere to put its footprint.
To enhance the quality of scientific multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research and scholarly writing and publications, Dr. Awich reported that the college established the Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
Dr. Awich added that the college graduate training and research has been strengthen by the nine centres and two research institutes that have been at the core of developing new and responsive PhD programmes and furthering partnerships and community outreach.
To increase the number of graduate fellows Dr. Awich proposed the need for the university to come up with a mechanism for fees waivers as a scholarship at departmental levels among others.
Experiences from the Cohort – based PhD Program
Speaking on behalf of the coordinators for the Andrew Mellon and Gerda Henkel funded PhD program, Dr. Pamela Khanakwa explained that since 2015 the college has been receiving 10 students every year from all over Africa with funding from Andrew Mellon and Gerda Henkel foundations.
Gerda Henkel Foundation, is a humanitarian foundation based in Germany which, on the African continent has funded research and graduate students through Lisa Maskell fund since 2009 -2010 when they partnered with the University of Stellenbosch under a premiership program which was called Partnership for Africa’s Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA).
PANGeA is a collaborative network of leading African universities developing research capacity and confidence in bringing African expertise to Africa’s challenges. The universities involved in the PANGeA network are the University of Botswana, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the University of Ghana, Makerere University, the University of Malawi, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.
In a bid to diversify, in 2015 PANGeA got into contact with Prof Edward Kirumira who was the then chairperson PANGeA and Makerere University was added in November 2016.
Dr. Khanakwa said the 1st cohort (2017) have all graduated with a PhD in humanities of Makerere University except one candidate who dropped out due to illness. In 2018, CHUSS admitted the 2nd cohort (10 students) and are in various stages of completion but was greatly affected by the pandemic. In 2019 the college had the 3rd cohort of 10 students, in 2020 another cohort of 8 students and the 2021 cohort that had 10 students.
Dr. Khanakwa explained that admissions are intense and done once under compulsory signed agreements and an almanac strictly followed.
“The college organizes cross cutting courses, writing workshops, progress reporting, mentorship and retooling workshops.
We also introduced pre-application workshops for competitive grants to help students know what funding agencies look for and the post doc grants.”
In addition, the college organizes dissemination workshops through different fora for students to reflect on what they are doing, invite scholars who comment on their work.
The college also supports students by providing them funds for space in Mawazo and other journals.
“The college also organizes supervisors retooling workshops on practices which have worked. This brings on heads of departments, deans and members from university units to remind members on their roles and graduate policies and practices”, Dr. Khanakwa stated.
Dr. Khanakwa also said the college endeavors to find avenues for supporting graduate students who are not on scholarship by putting slots to sponsor say 3PhDs and a masters on a different program with emphasis on creating a conducive environment for students.
The cohort system according to Dr. Khanakwa keeps the coordinators on love to look for partners and funding opportunities for students to sustain them and complete the program on time.
The Andrew Mellon and the Gerda Henkel support has made a community of scholars in the college and made CHUSS a vibrant intellectual community.By the end of this project, CHUSS would have educated about 60 PhD students.
The funding has also benefited the college in terms of infrastructure, contributed to the intellectual life and convened so far seven symposiums, the CHUSS Conversations and a number of seminars.
Discussions and proposals from the college
Members deliberated on the enablers and bottlenecks to research and graduate training, enhancing graduate supervision, selection of graduate students and challenges to graduate supervision
To increase the number and improve the quality of graduate training members proposed that the University makes a deliberate move to create space for graduate training, incentivize internal examination as extra load and allow CHUSS students from 2015 to be registered to complete.
It was proposed the university registers value in affiliations and treat them as opportunities, lobby government to support graduate training as this contributes to her vision and the National Development plans and address the staffing gaps.
Management was implored to think about prorata, staff welfare and salary enhancement across the divide, expedite staff promotion process, review the Human Resource manual attaching attraction of funding to promotion and post-retirement contracts and put in place systems that bring in funds.
Members expressed the need for special training facilities for specific programs e.g. psychology clinic, musical theater , studios etc, having a deliberate policy to reduce the workload at the lower level of undergraduates, and, institute a budget for curriculum development and reviews to reduce reliance on donors.
In addition to revisiting PhD supervision equivalence to one supervision as a promotion requirement, members suggested that the two year contract should be revisited to allow more years to enable staff attract funding and to avoid losing faculty to other universities.
Members observed that there was need to initiate a policy for academic gain of being a head of department, dean etc, and the need to reduce the bureaucracy for curriculum development and reviews and that the DGRT should engage with Senate, NCHE and facilitate the process.
Conclusions and issues to be taken forward
The Deputy Director Assoc. Prof. Julius Kikooma appreciated members for raising pertinent issues and proposals adding that some of them are directed to management and the Chair Board of Research and Graduate Training while some were for the Directorate to pick.
Dr. Kikooma asserted that the Directorate considers the working conditions of staff and that is why they were on ground to pick the language and best practices for emulation.
He clarified that the Vice Chancellor is passionate about attracting funding for graduate training and has pledged to work with partners and engage government in a conversation.
“The Vice Chancellor was also committed to engage different partners to have a building for graduate school – a space that is characteristically for graduate students.
As a public institution governed by public service, increasing the staffing levels will depend on instructions from the relevant government organs”. Dr. Kikooma said
Kikooma added that the policy on PhD fellows is there and every department should have graduate fellows to redistribute the load, and its practicality and implementation can be dealt with
The Director DGRT Prof. Edward Bbaale said a lot had been noted for synthesis and the Directorate will come up with write-ups and engage where possible.
Prof. Bbaale explained that Government took over the wage bill of Makerere and all funds go to government and therefore not practical to have a percentage of PhD funds ploughed back to colleges.
“The college should budget for internal examination just like they did for external examination because motivation is critical and, incentive structures need to be correct.
The issue of undergraduates is no longer getting incentive to maintain. The idea is to gradually reduce undergraduate enrolment and increase graduate enrolment and therefore, there is no reason to hold the same number of undergraduates”, The Director explained.
CHUSS Researchers to Publish a Book on Teaching Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University
Researchers from Makerere University College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) through its Centre of Excellence in Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL) have conducted research in different aspects of teaching and learning of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University.
With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, the team is working on their data and gathering comments.
The research will be compiled as manuscripts for a new publication named, the “CERTL Book,”
The CERTL Book is provisionally titled, “Teaching and Learning Humanities and Sciences at Makerere University: Challenges, experiences and innovations”.
On Monday 27th November 2023,CERTL held its second pre-publication workshop to solicit comments and review the authors works that will constitute the CERTL Book.
The workshop held at Fairway Hotel in Kampala brought together over ten researchers, CERTL leadership and CHUSS project Coordinators including Dr. Levis Mugumya who shared his experience on the process and challenges of a collected book and Dr. Pamela Khanakwa who shared the structure and citation for the CERTL book.
The function was also graced by representatives from Fountain publishers who guided on what the publishers want in a manuscript.
Speaking on the genesis, the Director CERTL, Prof. Andrew Elias State said, the center looked at the Vision and Mission of Makerere University to be a Centre of Excellence for Learning and Teaching.
Prof. State however noted that, many courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences were affected by the policies implemented earlier on by the Government of Uganda and global forces such as liberalization.
The Director acknowledged that in the event of the structural adjustments, governments and institutions either over- liberalized or did not consider issues that came with liberalization.
“The center was established to explore and develop mechanisms of strengthening and promoting teaching and learning in Humanities and Social Sciences. As a center, we were given grants for which we must have outputs and, in one of the MoUs, we agreed to have a minimum of two publications and the CERTL book is one of them”, He said
He explained that researchers were given fellowship grants to conduct the research. He expressed happiness that researchers had progressed well with research works which will later be published. He stressed the need for researchers to observe deadlines in order to be part of this CERTL Publication.
The CHUSS Projects Coordinator Dr. Edgar Fred Nabutanyi said, researchers are expected to submit their draft papers by 12th January 2024.
Nabutanyi implored researchers to look at the comments received and work with the data they have and send the draft for further improvement.
“Because of the time constraint we intend to make this an intensive hands on peer review. The center got commitment from for senior editors who will come and workshop your papers on 7th February 2024.
When you submit your paper, we shall pair you with an editor, who will read your paper and give you personal comments and after that, we shall have just one more review”, Nabutanyi explained.
Within a week, Dr. Nabutanyi pledged that the center will be working on the citations and the tentative structure on how the chapters will look to have a tangible product.
Authors and research topics for the CERTL Book
Authors presented their research findings that will form book chapters. They include:
- Dr. Sarah Nakijoba K – The Art of Academic writing to undergraduate students: Voices from students and mentors.
- Dr. Peace Musiimenta – Documenting existing transformative pedagogies with potential to disrupt relations of dominance in gender studies at Makerere University.
- Dr. James Mangeni Wasike – You will be around but hardly learning, “Visually impaired students’ experience of e-learning at Makerere University.
- Dr. Julius Niringiyimana – Think Pair Share(TPS) as cooperative learning strategy in large classes: Contextualizing political science class at Makerere University.
- Mr. Eric Jjemba – Musical connotation as a conduit for ethnic dance teaching and learning transformation in a university classroom
- Prof. Julius Kiiza – Does Digitised teaching deliver its promise? A readiness assessment of BASS program at Makerere University.
- Dr. Nkonge Kiyinikibi – Using the blended learning approach to teach and learn Luganda (BLATALL) at Makerere University.
- Dr. Nicholas Mugabi – An integrated blended field experiential learning approach: Opportunities and challenges amidst CoVID 19 disruption at Makerere University.
- Dr. Isaac Tibasiima and Dr. Ceasor Jjingo – Writing centres as avenues for meeting students’ academic writing needs and challenges at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Makerere University.
- Dr. Boaz Mutungi: – Enhancing second language oral expression; Interventions for Kiswahili for Beginners program at Makerere University.
Anthems of the World Concert for the United Nations Day, 2023, in Uganda
The “Anthems of the World” concert was a choral music presentation that featured national anthems of selected countries of the world in commemoration of the 2023 United Nations Day celebrations in Uganda. This concert aimed to explore connections between music and nationalism as embodied in the national anthems of different countries of the world. In line with this year’s United Nations theme: “Home and Belonging,” the concert aimed to help the public build mental images of their respective home experiences and shared values of sovereignty through the singing of select national anthems in their respective native or official languages. Ultimately, the purpose of the concert was to further contribute to the public’s appreciation of the global cultural diversity, respect and understanding for one another, and to the enhancement of the world’s social harmony and universal peace, as emphasized in the United Nations Charter. The repertoire list comprised of 24 national anthems representing countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, the UN Hymn and the Makerere University anthem.
The performance procedure for the Anthems of the World concert was participatory in nature, involving the choir and the audience for the various roles of the performance. For clarity purposes, the anthems in this concert were not used in their traditional sense of performing a political function, but rather, as pieces of a country’s heritage for purposes of sharing a bit of that heritage with the public. Therefore, it was not mandatory for people to remain standing while all national anthems were being sung. Each national anthem was introduced by a national (mostly Ambassadors) by providing the inspiration behind it and a brief about the country. All nationals and associates of that country were invited to stand while the choir sung their national anthem, and thereafter, everyone celebrated that nation.
Dr. Milton Wabyona, Convener and Choir Director
In his introductory remarks, Dr. Wabyona, referred to the notion that national anthems are compact summaries of a country at its people. He thus posited that through the singing of these anthems, we are more likely to know more about others, and more likely to understand others, hence the more likelihood to appreciate and respect others. Music provides us with an honest and universal medium of communication for all of us.
Dr. Wabyona made reference to a line in the UN Hymn: “Let music for peace be the paradigm,” as support of the ideology of music as a medium of peace for humans. He believed that through this concert, each one of us will have a little knowledge and understanding of the other, which is a sure way towards the world’s social harmony and to fostering of genuine universal peace. This is the same ideal that inspired the formation of the Makorale Choir. The Makorale, is a Makerere University community ensemble comprised of current and former students of Makerere University, faculty and other members of the university community. The overall goal of the ensemble is to harness the vast benefits of music in shaping a peaceful society and cultivating education opportunities in the performing arts for students.
Dr. Pamela Khanakwa, Dean – School of Liberal and Performing Arts (Representing the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University)
Dr. Pamela Khanakwa welcomed everyone to Makerere University. She expressed how proud Makerere was in hosting this prestigious United Nations Day celebration on the 78th anniversary of the UN formation. Dr. Khanakwa recalled that in her early years of school, the UN seemed a distant and an abstract concept but as we grew, we got to realize that we are part of the United Nations. She reiterated the core mission of the UN as about humanity, peace and unity.
Dr. Khanakwa was touched by the UN theme of “Home and Belonging,” which she said speaks deeply to our hearts. And here at Makerere we feel as small United Nations of sorts because of the diversity of our staff, students and the multiple collaborations that we have, she added. As a university, we tow in the same line with the ideals of the UN, because Makerere is home to many students from different countries, both neighboring and beyond. Our curriculum is not only about teaching and research, but we’re also actively engaged in initiatives that promote peace. In the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, we have a department of Religion and Peace Studies. Makerere University also hosts a prestigious Rotary Peace Center, which is highly recognized around the world, and is involved in training different scholars from around the world in peace initiatives. Makerere also provides space for national, regional and international dialogues that champion the cause of peace in the world.
In regard to the day’s main activity, Dr. Khanakwa spoke passionately about anthems as part of our heritage and inspiration as a people. “There is a way we feel when we listen to anthems.” She drew from her personal experience of how she felt when she heard the Ugandan national anthem sung while she was in United States. She reaffirmed that anthems give us a sense of belonging and our identity. Dr. Khankwa concluded by thanking the UN Uganda office for supporting this event, Makerere University Innovation Hub for hosting, the Makorale choir and Dr. Milton Wabyona for making CHUSS and Makerere proud. She looked forward to listening to different national anthems of different countries and hoped the experience would help us reflect on the power of music, the power of unity and how these anthems promote nationalism and humanity.
Ms. Susan Ngongi Namondo: UN Resident Coordinator, Uganda Office
Ms. Susan acknowledged their Excellency, the Ambassadors and Heads of the various Diplomatic missions present. She thanked Makerere University, Dr. Pamela Khanakwa, representing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and the general Makerere University staff and the students for hosting the concert. The Anthems of the World concert at Makerere University was organized in celebration the 78th anniversary of the UN Charter’s entry into force in 1945. Ms. Susan commended the Makorale – a Makerere University community choir for putting together this incredible musical show piece, which further underlined Makerere’s leadership in various spheres.
The UN Resident Coordinator made reference national anthems described as compact summaries of a country’s heritage, history, struggles, and aspirations. She posited that the Anthems of the World Concert aimed to offer a glimpse into each other’s cherished heritage, fostering a sense of interconnectedness. She hoped that, beyond enjoying the musical performance, attendees would reaffirm their commitment to sustainable development goals, addressing global challenges such as pandemics, climate change, and economic issues. The importance of recognizing a shared humanity and interconnectedness, as much as she encouraged efforts towards a safer, greener, and more sustainable Uganda and world. Ms. Susan concluded by encouraging students to learn more about the United Nations and contribute to its development.
President Museveni underscores political & economic integration as permanent cure for Africa’s marginalization
The President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has emphasized the need for African countries to strengthen both political and economic integration as a permanent cure of Africa’s weaknesses and marginalization around the world. In a speech read by the former Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda on 14th October 2023 at the Annual Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Symposium, the President said that Africa must cure herself of the victim mentality and take the initiative of shaping her own destiny.
“We have an unprecedented advantage of a market of 1.3 billion people. This is a formidable treasure in our hands, it has the potential of not only making us richer, but also earning us respect in the world as a power to reckon with,” he noted.
Reflecting on the times when NRM captured power in 1986, President Museveni said that Uganda’s population by then was a paltry 15 million people and the East Africa Community which would have compensated for Uganda’s small market had been brought to its knees. He was however, happy that the NRM government did not waste time in working with Tanzania and Kenya to revive the East Africa Community. To him, the concerted efforts paid off in 1999 when the original members of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania signed the treaty which re-established the East African Community. The community has since grown with the addition of Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He acknowledged the regional blocks such as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East Africa Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for increasing the volume of trade among African countries. And with the signing and ratification by individual member states of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the President was happy that Africa now boasts of the largest free trade area in the world.
“It must be remembered that Africa was forcefully integrated into the world economy as a source of cheap labour and raw materials for western industries. Africa has donated enough wealth to the rest of the world. It is time to cut off the proboscises of parasites, whose wealth has been sucked from our mines, soils, forests and lakes,” he said.
“Our chief interest should be on securing the survival and prosperity of our children and their children. There is no better guarantee for their future than working towards the political and economic integration of Africa. For the first time, we have the opportunity of safeguarding our great human and natural resources under the African supernatural government. The African leaders, therefore need to work hard so as not share the fate of the pre-colonial tribal chiefs that let down their people,” he added.
President Museveni saluted the contribution of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere to the liberation of Africa and urged young people to carry on Mwalimu’s vision of a strong and united Africa. To him, every year, he eagerly looks forward to this day, that was set aside to commemorate the life and legacy of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. He was happy that Uganda joins Tanzania and the rest of the entire African continent to celebrate an African hero. “As we celebrate this day, it is important to remind ourselves of the unfinished work, which Mwalimu pioneered, and carry it forward to its logical conclusion. This will be the most befitting tribute to his great legacy,” he emphasized.
According to him, Mwalimu Nyerere was a true champion of African freedom and liberation. Mwalimu Nyerere unlike most of the African nationalist fighters, espoused the idea that attainment of independence, by the respective African countries, was not an end in itself. His true legacy lies in the fact that he, first and fore most supported liberation struggles to break the shackle colonialism and neo-colonialism, which had unfairly parceled the powers.
Additionally, Mwalimu Nyerere recognized the urgency of uniting the small independent African states to create for the first time Africa’s Centre of Gravity. He rejected the notion of arrivalism, which gripped the ruling elites once they took over the 53 colonies that the imperialists had organized for easy exploitation. “They imagined that they had arrived and the idea of Pan-Africanism was thrown out of the window. Mwalimu’s commitment to the goal of Pan-Africanism was demonstrated through the unification of Tanganyika and Zanzibar to create the United Republic of Tanzania. He was equally committed to the formation of the East Africa Federation,” said the President.
Every year the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre in conjunction with its co-promoters, Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute organizes a symposium to honor and celebrate the legacy of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. The Annual Symposium which brings together students, academics, researchers, business people, experts and political thought leaders from across the African region provides a platform for them to reflect on how to regenerate and keep alive the powerful efforts of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere on Pan-Africanism.
Representing the Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof. Josephine Ahikire noted that the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Annual Symposium provides a wider platform to deliberate and conduct powerful discussions on the challenges and opportunities faced by East Africa and Africa at large.
According to the Vice Chancellor, the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Annual Symposium 2023 that was held on 13th – 14th October 2023 created space for participants to envision and interrogate the challenges, opportunities and strategies needed to foster collaborations and unity in pursuit of shared prosperity under the theme: Building a Borderless East Africa: Championing Unity, Youth Employment, culture and Climate Resilience.
The Chairperson, Board of Directors of the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre (JNLC) Dr. Mulindwa Kasozi Saturninus also noted that the rich conversations were built on the success of the 2022 Nyerere @100 Symposium that put the youth at the fore front of the debates and proposals on development.
Ms. Stella Agara, a renowned governance and youth development specialist was the Keynote Speaker on the theme; Building a Borderless East Africa: Championing Unity, Youth Employment, culture and Climate Resilience. She reflected on some of the strong and memorable words of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, “without Unity there is no future for Africa.” According to Ms. Stella Agara such words call for African countries to deepen and widen regional integration with a greater focus on prioritizing regional freedom of movement.
She questioned the essence of a borderless East Africa when some countries like Burundi and South Sudan still face hiking costs of Air tickets when accessing other countries within the region? She questioned the idea of a borderless East Africa when African nationals are still considered “aliens” in the respective African countries and students still face long process of residential identifications to access education within the region. Furthermore, it is still difficult for African nationals to acquire a residence or work permit in most of the African countries.
Ms. Stella Agara said that “the only way I am able to work in Tanzania is when I access a business permit at USD 100 and in the event I happen to fly out of the Tanzania before the expected exit date, I have to buy another one on return.”
She noted that traditionally, Africans were great at hosting strangers and it is this African culture of hospitality that our society demands today. She was puzzled by the fact that Africans can refer to fellow Africans as foreigners on the African land. To her, the sentiments that fellow Africans are flowing into different African countries as foreigners to take up jobs meant for nationals still stands with disbelief.
“As a region, we need to accept the fact that we need each other since each one of us is more endowed than the other in certain areas. We need to appreciate the fact that we are all members and citizens of this continent. We are citizens of the East African community and we cannot be foreigners on our soil. Young people now are more courageous about trips and taking opportunities across borders, therefore, there is much more room for integration,” she said.
Looking at some of the frameworks that have been put in place to foster a borderless Africa, Ms. Agara acknowledged the Revised Migration Policy Framework of the African Union and its Planning Action adopted in 2018. The Framework reflects on the migration dynamics in Africa and guides African Union member states and regional communities on the management of migrants. It further provides binding legal frameworks upon which member states link their migration policies to development needs and protection of migrants’ rights.
“This policy was however developed with a lot of thinking inclined towards addressing challenges of African young people who are dying on seas trying to access Europe. The AU has engaged in conversations to develop the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which speaks about the single passport, opportunities across borders, movement of services and goods and this brings quite great opportunities for managing migration but also collapsing our borders to create space,” she stressed.
She however highlighted the responsibility of the East Africa Community to cascade some of these policy frameworks and actions down to the East African Region noting that the East Africa Community has worked fast towards a Customs Union and common market protocol to create space and opportunities and making it easier for business carried across borders.
Ms. Agara called upon African countries to address extensively the issues of poverty and corruption that have created very strange differences when it comes to borderless movements within the region. In the same spirit, she urged them to break the barriers of strict cultures, behaviors and manners that create a rift to regional integration. She also encouraged African countries to appreciate the gendered face of borderlessness.
“Our borderlessness is going to promote conversations on climate change and also create opportunities to address the climate crises in solidarity. Young people today unlike our predecessors, have more international friends, spaces and people that they have not actually met by virtue of the fact that they control the digital space. This power from the youth can be harnessed for positive purposes or end up affecting how we view issues that we need to address today,” she said.
According to Ms. Agara, climate conversations are more narrative based and depend on who is controlling that narrative. Africa has done quite a lot of work and the leaders have actually developed a framework of how the Africa Union is going to approach the climate crisis. They have adopted the adaptation as the main mechanism through which countries should address the climate crisis and this is extremely important to the continent because it is being pushing towards resilience and tolerance.
“Africa has not contributed much to the carbon emission conversations, yet we are now being asked to stop mining oil, gold among other mineral resources and we are saying if we are to stop doing so, there is a conversation we must drive, it is impossible for us to engage in conversations without having addressed cross border relations,” she said.
The Keynote speaker called upon African countries to reflect on how they can replicate the Doom’s Day Seed Vault noting that the relevance of preserving African seeds on the African continent should be prioritized.
Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere
Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born on April 13th 1922 in Butiama on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria in North Western Tanganyika. His father was the chief of the small Zanaki tribe. He was 12 years before he started school (he had to walk 26 miles to Musoma to do so). Later he was transferred for his secondary education to Tabora Government Secondary School. His intelligence was quickly recognized by the Roman Catholic Fathers and with their support, he trained as a teacher at Makerere University in Kampala-Uganda. On gaining his certificate, he taught for three years and then went on a government scholarship to study history and political economy for his Masters of Arts at University of Edinburgh. He was the first Tanzanian to study at a British university.
In Edinburgh, partly through his encounter with Fabian thinking, Nyerere began to develop his particular vision of connecting socialism with African communal living. On his return to Tanganyika, Nyerere worked towards bringing a number of different nationalist factions into one grouping and he achieved this in 1954 with the formation of TANU (the Tanganyika Africa Union). He became the President of the Union and joined the Legislative Council in 1958. He became the Chief Minister in 1960. A year later Tanganyika was granted internal self-governance and Nyerere became Premier. Full independence was attained in December 1961 and he was elected President in 1962.
When paying tribute to his legacy Uganda’s High commissioner to the Republic of Tanzania H.E., Rtd. Col. Fred Mwesigye described Mwalimu Julius Nyerere as a civilized, considerate and courteous person. Mwalimu Nyerere was persuasive, kind and empathetic
“He was a teacher, who was able to simplify complex issues; a peacemaker and a peace builder. He had the capacity to persevere and he was a consensus builder. He appreciated different opinions and he was studious, he had enormous capacity to debate, he was a Pan-Africanist and yearned for a federated East Africa,” he said.
According to the acting High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to Uganda, H.E. Mr. Lucas Mayanga, the Charge d’Affairs, Mwalimu Nyerere’s idea of Pan-Africanism was gradual whereby he stressed the significance of nation building and regional integration before continental unity. To promote his idea, he was willing to delay the independence of Tanganyika in order to enable by then Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya achieve their independence together as a single federal state.
“While he fell short of realizing this vision, he united Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania shortly after the independence of these two countries. This Union remains until today. It is in this regard that we welcome today’s Symposium theme of Building a Borderless East Africa Region,” the Commissioner stated.
The Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre (JNLC)
In 2018, the President of the Republic of Uganda advocated for and supported the establishment of the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre as a Presidential Initiative. Hosted by Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute, the Centre is responsible for inter-generational dialogues on African history and study and conducting research on Africa revolutionary movements.
On October 6th 2018, President Museveni established the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre (JNLC), at Makerere University, as a Presidential initiative. Co-promoted by Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute, the Centre was to provide leadership skills, training and mentorship to young people. Specifically, it was to conduct Leadership training of a new and emerging generation of African leaders; to foster Cross-generational dialogue and conversations on African history and revolutionary movements in order to align needs and plans for the future as one; and to conduct Policy leading Research that aspires to close that gap between academia and practical policies.
Dr. Nansozi K. Muwanga, the Executive Director of JNLC reveals that since it was established five years ago, the Centre has strived to fulfil these ambitious objectives and also to put students at the center of its activities as an important part of JNLC’s mission and vision.The Centre has thus provided trainings and mentorship sessions to young people on selfless leadership as part of historical and political perspectives of the African continent.
In addition to customized leadership training, the Centre also holds regular cross-generational fireside (Ekyooto) conversations on unity and Pan-Africanism as well as supporting student leaders to attend regional conferences, student debates on issues that affect them, national and regional development. To illustrate its commitment to Mwalimu Nyerere’s legacy and unity agenda, the Centre, with the support of the Language Department, has developed a Basic Kiswahili course to be implemented alongside its leadership training. Dr. Muwanga says that “these activities provide students with important eye-opening experiences, exposure and skills, which the recent drastic 80% budget cuts of the JNLC’s funding undermine. Muwanga says that these budget cuts notwithstanding the JNLC as a Presidential initiative has gained traction among students and Makerere University management. The JNLC’s leadership training has been endorsed by Makerere University Council that has made it mandatory for all those aspiring for leadership positions. Furthermore, “the Centre’s relevance is in ensuring it responds to students’ needs as it evolves to take into account emerging national and geopolitical issues whilst staying true to the legacy and aspirations of Mwalimu Nyerere.”
She acknowledged the support and contribution of long standing partners including the President of Uganda who is the Patron for his tremendous support towards the creation of the Centre; Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute for their steadfast financial and logistical support; the High Commission of the Republic of Tanzania to Uganda; Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS); NBS and Afro Mobile; Simba Telecom; United Nations Development Programme; the Tanzania Community in Uganda; the Private Education Development Network; Future Generation Trust; aBi Development among others.
In the same spirit, she appreciated the Board of Directors of the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre chaired by Dr. Kasozi Mulindwa for the invaluable support and constructive guidance. “To the staff of Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre, I thank you very much for your hard work and your consistent and committed efforts.”
Article by: Mak Public Relations Office and JNLC
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