Professor Eddy Walakira on 11th May, 2023 handed over office to Dr. Denis Muhangi as new head, Department of Social Work and Social Administration.
Prof. Walakira started working at Makerere University in 1996 and was ushered into leadership when he was first appointed in Acting Head on 1st November 2012 and subsequently, became substantive on 1st September 2014.
“So that marks over 10 years in leadership of the department and I am grateful for all the time that I have been able to serve” He said.
Reflecting over his leadership style, Prof. Walakira reported that he has emphasized team work, had cohesion, peaceful co-existence and discounted negative talk.
“We have given every person, freedom to express themselves and because of that, the atmosphere that we have created even in project collaborations and coordination, I have made sure that everyone participates. I have encouraged staff not to look at what individuals do but instead learn from their capabilities and creatively innovate something that they can do themselves”, He said.
That style he said, avoided conflicts and ensured staff stand as a coherent strong team and built a unit that was resourceful.
The department he stressed has not been in a fragile financial situation and has been able to meet costs for big meetings and visiting delegations.
“As a leader, when you get into office, it would be very difficult to start looking at the university to meet all the financial needs of the unit. All along, I have created an environment of flexibility, collegiality, teamwork and being pragmatic so as to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along so that we are able to support university functions and activities”, he explained.
Across all the years, Prof. Walakira said the department has been able to support the part timers who are not paid by the university.
Prof. Walakira highlighted key achievements under his tenure in areas of staffing capacity, teaching and training, developing new programmes, curriculum revision, staff promotion, research, publications and collaborations, infrastructure and facilities, financial resources and supplies, ongoing transformation efforts and maintaining visibility.
He said for the last couple of months, the units has been thinking about the way forward and came to appoint that the department should transform into a school imploring the incoming head to look into what members of staff subscribe to, to move the process forward.
He said the paper work is about to be completed to achieve a higher goal calling for the necessary support to achieve this.
“This s important because it elevates the profession itself, because the higher you go as a unit the more the profession gets the clout to negotiate, be considered important and also to pursue an agenda that truly reflects an agenda that you aspire to as a profession”, Prof. Walakira stressed.
Other remarkable achievements according to Prof. Walakira include improvement in staffing capacity standing at 54% as one of the university units with staffing capacity beyond 50% . By the time he assumed office, the unit had 24 staff, of these 19 teaching and 5 support staff. In terms of qualifications, 63 % of staff had PhDs when he came in but currently 69% hold PhDs.
In teaching and learning Prof. Walakira reported that the department has a Bachelor of Social Works and Co teach Bachelor of social sciences with 4 Masters programmes (with two active namely Master of social Works and Master of social sector planning and management) and a PhD based on research.
Areas that need strengthening in teaching according the Prof. Walakira include teaching in sign language which is depended on part timers, managing complex disabilities and promoting inclusion, teaching quantitative research at all levels, teaching social work and mental health, and the need for staffing in social policy , climate change adaptation and mitigation.
He reported that during his administration, the unit successfully revised the curriculum for the active programs, and was currently revising the curriculum for the master of social sector planning and management and developing a new curriculum for a PhD in social work with an additional description in social work.
Prof. Walakira also reported that the department developed a document detailing the minimum standards and competence framework for social work education and training in the country to amplify the relevance of the subject to nation building.
From one Professor and Associate Professor, he said the unit has 6 members at the level of Assoc. Professor with 5 senior lectures from 4 that time with a number of staff who have applied for promotion. The department he reported was outstanding in the area research, collaborations and publications with over 70% of staff actively involved in research and publications.
I accept the responsibility – Incoming Head Dr. Denis Muhangi
The incoming Head, Dr. Denis Muhangi thanked the outgoing head for the leadership offered, the innovativeness and pragmatism which are necessary for any any leader to thrive amidist limited resources and challenges.
“It is my great pleasure this morning to accept the responsibility being bestowed upon me, I have shaken hands with the outgoing head, received the files and I accept the responsibility. I thank all members for making time to witness the hand over and for the confidence and trust you put in me when you elected me”, Dr. Muhangi appreciated
Dr. Muhangi described the transition as an important milestone in the history of the department pledging to carry on the mantle by leveraging on his predecessor’s’ mode of leadership of collegiality, peaceful conflict resolution and harmonious co-existence.
“We are social workers, we teach, conflict resolution, dialogue and issues of engagement so, we should practice what we teach to help maintain a good environment for us to prosper”
As he embarks on this journey, Dr. Muhangi said the tasks ahead were clear urging staff to continue with roles of teaching, examining and supervision saying, this was the main reason they exist in the university.
He implored staff to tap into existing opportunities and leverage on existing networks nationally and internally and to enhance the brand and the visibility of the department for better recognition.
He recognized the resourcefulness of every staff hoping to draw on these resources for collective achievements.
He expressed the need for all to come up with innovative ways of supporting graduate students to complete on time and issues pointed out by the outgoing head.
“I appreciate that what I am taking on is a huge responsibility and I want to pledge that I will do my part to provide support, guidance and enabling environment as will be need. It is also comforting to know that there is the support of the Dean, the Principal’ office and other support units of the university and management”, Dr. Muhangi promised.
He called on staff to continue cherishing the spirit of social support in good and bad times.
The Dean commends efforts to preserve the profession
Presiding over the ceremony. the Dean School of Social Sciences, Dr. Justus Twesiggye said this was historical in the making for the department to have an elected head after having a record acting heads who are finally confirmed
Noting that there is struggle to find a professional and social activism that promotes social change, Dr. Twesigye expressed the need for new recruits to be part of this culture and learn that it is professionalization in social work that one can hand over, talk and welcome change.
“In social development terms, we are happy that now we can make choice that we have more capacity, there is agency and that we can hand over and talk of change without fights. To me this is something we should celebrate as a social work family”, The Dean said.
The Dean thanked Dr. David Mafigiri who was the opponent to the incoming for leading and engaging Dr. Muhangi in a peaceful contest, accepting defeat and pledging to support, describing these as a sign of maturity and good growth.
Dr. Twesigye congratulated Prof. Eddy Walakira for successfully having his terms as head of department.
“You should be pleased over this landmark over 10 years in office is not an easy thing. We lost several heads of departments in successive years, but you have been able to live and serve. God blessed you with good health, you have been constant, available and smiling. To be able to lead a team and focus for a long time is very good. This is God’s Grace”, Dr. Twesigye said.
He reminded staff that the ceremony signifies that when you take over office, you must serve and at one time leave using the adage that when the curtains close, no matter how good a dancer you are, you must leave the stage.
Dr. Twesigye commended Prof. Walakira for the tremendous achievements .
“The first one is minimum standards and competence framework for social work education and training that to me, is really spot on. That document if interpreted well, is going to help us and even when out of here, we shall be talking of preserving this profession.
The second one is having the Master of social work and Bachelor curriculum that is very extremely important for the identity and professionalization and the core of putting the department where it is”, The Dean commended.
The Dean congratulated Dr. Denis Muhangi and welcomed him to the leadership forum describing him as kindhearted and sober person capable of taking the department to another level.
Dr. Twesigye reminded the incoming that he will take on more responsibilities including emergencies and will have to account to the Dean, Principal and university Management as the first point of contact.
He said he has inherited leadership with great opportunities over the years with a good number of PhDs, with the largest number of students who have government scholarships in the university through the special entry scheme, district quotas and disability schemes of almost 30%, then national merit of about 25-30%.
Despite the potential and opportunities, the Dean noted that the identity crisis was still present in the profession which cannot be accounted for, adding that he has not had of a full professor in social work as long as he can remember .
Noting that there is is so much suppression to fight against, the Dean implored the incoming head, to capitalize on the opportunities to tackle critical challenges such as the teaching culture, negative publicity, the staffing gaps, graduate completion rates, attracting the super cream undergraduate students to enroll for masters and ensure the professionalization of social work is revisited, understood and pursued to the latter.
Prof. Eddy Walkira hailed for exemplary leadership
Assoc. Prof. Asingwire Narathius , a mentor and the previous leader who laid the foundation for the department applauded the outgoing head for exemplary leadership.
“I thank you so much Prof. Walakira for appreciating to bring you in the leadership. I mentored you and you have not disappointed me. You have left the department united, the level of cohesion is unrivaled and I am sure Dr. Muhangi will pick from there. This is very positive environment with the Dean being part of us”
Prof. Asingwire joined university leadership as Ag. Head Department of Social Work in 1998 and served for 13 years in acting and substantive positions. He came when the department had lost two heads within a short time and at the turbulent times when then Vice-chancellor had appointed a committee of inquiry into the department.
“To serve 10 years Prof. Walakira, that is not a short time and certainly in 10 years, that is a long term of service. I thank all colleagues for giving you unwavering support. Dr. Muhangi is coming into office through the power of the ballot. This is the first time the department has held an election”. Prof. Asingwire commented.
He clarified that no one was stifling democracy but staff could not respond to calls for nominations and some would not qualify.
“Thank you for making this office very attractive. I pray that Dr. Muhangi will even make it more attractive so that when his term expires, that everyone will seek to be nominated and we will have a variety of choice”, Prof. Asingwire stated.
Assistant Lecturer, Agatha Kafuko congratulated the outgoing head upon the milestones over the 10 years and the incoming upon his election and appointment.
“Social work has contributed significantly to professional development especially in the area of child protection in Uganda. Also with social labs now, we are contributing significantly to the university’s strategic goal in terms of innovative ways of teaching and community engagement”,
Dr. Denis Muhangi
Dr. Muhangi is an experienced researcher with over 15 years experience in conducting social research and evaluation studies. His work has been in the areas of HIV/AIDS, malaria prevention, water and sanitation, livelihoods, orphans and vulnerable children, and governance. Dr. Muhangi completed his PhD studies at Queens University of Belfast in the UK, his PhD research focused on government-NGO partnerships in HIV/AIDS response in Uganda. His PhD research built on his many years of work in the area of HIV/AIDS as well as in the area of government relations with other actors, such as NGOs, CBOs, FBOs, and the private-for-profit sector. His other fields of interest include social policy reform, social services design and delivery, and institutional development. He brings with him extensive experience in conducting social research, mainly using qualitative (including PRA) methods, with fair knowledge of quantitative methods. He is competent in designing research studies such as baselines, reviews, and impact assessments. He is also competent in designing M&E systems. He has exceptionally good conceptual and analytical skills, skills for making presentations, and writing skills – including writing for publication. He has previously worked as a consultant for reputable organizations such as UNDP, UNICEF, UPHOLD, Directorate of Water Development, PSI/PACE, and several local Ugandan NGOs. His work has been a wide range of sectors including HIV/AIDS; Orphans and Vulnerable Children; Water Supply, Hygiene and Sanitation; Health; Income Generation and Livelihoods; Poverty alleviation; and Institutional/organizational Development.
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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