Connect with us

Humanities & Social Sciences

Mak Department of Journalism & Communication Engages with Pioneer Class to Enhance Course Progress

Published

on

In a bid to foster academic excellence and ensure the smooth progression of the Master of Arts in Journalism and Communication (MAJM) and Master of Strategic and Corporate Communication (MASC) programs, Makerere University‘s Department of Journalism and Communication held a meeting with the pioneer class of these courses. The gathering on Friday June 23, 2023 in Lecture Room 4 aimed to discuss the students’ course progress and provide motivation for timely completion.

The meeting followed the successful conclusion of the first academic year for the 2022/2023 cohort. Students together with their esteemed lecturers gathered for a productive and cordial engagement, focusing on streamlining the upcoming academic year and emphasizing the importance of meeting course objectives and deadlines.

During the engagement, Dr. Aisha Nakiwala, a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Department, expressed satisfaction in the students’ progress and emphasized their unique position as pioneers of these programs. She urged the students to recommit themselves to the shared goal of completing the programs within the stipulated two-year timeframe.

Ms. Sarah Kagingo, CEO of Soft Power Communications and Vice Chairlady of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, one of the pioneer students and Mr. Sulaiman Kakaire, a journalist turned lawyer and PhD student at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), in a photo. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Ms. Sarah Kagingo, CEO of Soft Power Communications and Vice Chairlady of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, one of the pioneer students and Mr. Sulaiman Kakaire, a journalist turned lawyer and PhD student at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), in a photo.

“By the end of the two-year period, you will have undergone a profound transformation. Our hope and promise are that everyone will achieve remarkable personal growth within this timeframe. We understand that unforeseen challenges may have emerged along the way. It is important to note that criticism is commonplace in academia, and we are used to navigating such circumstances. We genuinely care about your well-being and wish you all the best. We strive to enhance and improve the program continuously, so we highly appreciate any feedback you have regarding areas that need improvement. Your input will be carefully considered as we work towards refining the program for your benefit and for future participants,” said Dr. Nakiwala.

Dr. Nakiwala, commended the remarkable achievement of the two new programs introduced at Makerere University. She cites the Department received an impressive more than double expected applications but admitted only 40 individuals to each program, maintaining a selective acceptance rate of 50% in the 2023/2024 academic year application. 

According to Dr. Nakiwala, this rigorous selection process ensured that the highest caliber of students was chosen to participate. Further stressing the importance of ensuring the pioneer students to stay focused and complete the program by June 30th, 2024, ensuring a smooth transition for incoming students. She acknowledged that challenges may arise along the way but assured students that criticism is common in academia, and the department is well-prepared to navigate such situations.

Dr. Aisha Nakiwala, a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Department takes notes during the engagement. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Dr. Aisha Nakiwala, a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Department takes notes during the engagement.

“Our primary objective is to see each one of you successfully complete this program. Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your commitment to finishing within the designated two-year timeframe. It means that your dissertation should have been submitted to the graduate school for supervision and evaluation. Looking ahead, the upcoming year may appear less demanding, but it will require additional effort and meticulous attention to detail,” Dr. Nakiwala said.

On her part, Dr. Marjorie Kyomuhendo-Niyitegeka, a Lecturer and Programmes Coordinator in the Department of Journalism and Communication, emphasized the significance of time management and avoiding procrastination. She highlighted the extensive course content and the need for consistent progress, emphasizing that even short periods, such as a week or a month, hold immense importance in achieving academic success. She expressed eagerness on behalf of the faculty to work closely with the students as future supervisors, guiding them throughout their academic journey.

“Congratulations on successfully completing your first year! It was a rewarding experience for me to teach all of you, and I want you to know that we highly appreciate you as the pioneering group of this program. You serve as our ambassadors in the world out there. I urge you to carry forward the same enthusiasm and energy into the upcoming semester,” said Dr. Kyomuhendo-Niyitegeka.

Dr. Adolf Mbaine, a Lecturer of Media Law, Policy, and Regulation addresses students. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Dr. Adolf Mbaine, a Lecturer of Media Law, Policy, and Regulation addresses students.

For Dr. Mbaine, a lecturer in Media Law, Policy, and Regulation, students need to be proactive in addressing challenges and complete their studies on time. He highlighted the quality of education they have received and shared an anecdote about a previous student who faced difficulties due to a delayed graduation.

“There is always a fear of lecturers by students and what lecturers are able to do to you as a student. It’s like the lecturers are carrying weapons of mass destruction that at a slightest provocation they can unleash. As a graduate student, you should be able to manage your relationship with your lectures. Being careful about the things you do and say, you have to be very careful about that. There is even what is called graduate politics. You have to be creative in a way you handle yourself. If you do the minimum, people will also help you up to the minimum. Please go out and be worthy ambassadors of the program,” said Dr. Mbaine.

Professor Nassanga Goretti Linda, a Professor at the Journalism and Communication Department and the first Head of the Department, congratulated the students on completing their first year and emphasized the importance of planning and professionally executing their research phase for the upcoming second year.

Professor Nassanga Goretti Linda, Professor of Journalism and Communication and the first Head of the Department. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Professor Nassanga Goretti Linda, Professor of Journalism and Communication and the first Head of the Department.

“I implore you to take your research seriously and address the feedback provided by your supervisors in time. Your reports will undergo scrutiny by an external examiner, whose evaluation holds significant weight. However, I urge you not to view this as your sole objective. Imagine if your child, a loved one, or someone else reads your thesis years from now. Do something that will make you proud in future,” said Professor Nassanga.

Dr. Gerald Walulya, the Masters Programmes Coordinator, encouraged the students to seek help and support from the faculty whenever needed. “Align your expectations with the results and match them with your input. When it comes to writing assignments, let’s focus on the fundamentals. Start by reading and then answer assignments. Many of us are readily available for consultations,” he said.

Mr. Sulaiman Kakaire, a journalist turned lawyer and PhD student at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), reminded both students and lecturers to manage their expectations and egos, as graduate politics can become intense, especially at the PhD level.

Mr. Sulaiman Kakaire, a journalist turned lawyer and PhD student at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) listens attentively to the proceedings. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Mr. Sulaiman Kakaire, a journalist turned lawyer and PhD student at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) listens attentively to the proceedings.

“It requires humility to acknowledge that you are being taught by a colleague whom you have known for a while. No lecturer intends to engage in conflict with a student. Personally, I welcomed the feedback I received and never took it personally. I embraced the remedial classes when some of you invited me as they offered us an opportunity to learn and improve,” Mr. Kakaire said.

Ms. Sarah Kagingo, CEO of Soft Power Communications and Vice Chairlady of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, on behalf of the pioneer students expressed gratitude for the transformative journey they had embarked on and highlighted their enhanced critical thinking skills. She also emphasized the importance of considering multiple perspectives and authentic lived experiences to become effective ambassadors for the department.

“It’s said that PR is investment in the bank of goodwill but it takes two to tangle and we often fall short. Several heads of communication claim their organisations are responsive yet they do not pick their phone calls. It’s through authentic lived experiences that we will truly represent the Department as Ambassadors. Several of us have been unwell and we thank you for rendering us support. There have been times I have comforted colleagues and put up a face of strength yet I’m breaking internally – I am a human being. I’m grateful for my colleagues, the discussions were both rigorous and fun. The next semester will be seamless, in shaa Allah,” Ms. Kagingo.

The author and class representative-Davidson Ndyabahika (Left) shares with Pastor Mark Odeke (Right) shortly after the meeting. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
The author and class representative-Davidson Ndyabahika (Left) shares with Pastor Mark Odeke (Right) shortly after the meeting.

Pastor Mark Arnold Odeke, one of the pioneer students, called for collaboration and mutual respect between Lecturers and Students. He stressed the importance of supporting the growth of the profession through progressive efforts.

“I want to apologize on behalf of the class. Whatever might have happened throughout this year was solely for academic purposes and was not intended as part of the learning process. As we move into the next phase, let us strive for a more productive and positive learning environment, said Odeke.

The meeting concluded with a celebratory cake-cutting ceremony, symbolizing the end of the academic year and serving as a fresh commitment by both students and lecturers to pursue their courses diligently.

The MA Students are joined by the Pioneer Class to cut cake. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
The MA Students are joined by the Pioneer Class to cut cake.

In August 2022, Makerere University‘s Department of Journalism and Communication launched two-year MASC and MAJM programs. The two programs are designed to meet the needs of the corporate and public sectors, which are increasingly demanding effective communication strategies and areas of journalism and multimedia.

Makerere University‘s MASC program offers students a comprehensive education in behavioral, social, and development communication, preparing them for technological advancements and equipping them with expertise in public relations, research, and ethical communication. With a focus on aligning with industry trends and market demands, the program empowers students to excel in the dynamic communication field and make meaningful contributions to societal well-being in the 21st century.

MAJM program provides advanced training in journalism and multimedia and emphasize theory, practice, and the societal contexts of media, while also exploring new media trends and digital technology. Graduates of the MAJM program will be equipped to meet market expectations, excel in the evolving professional landscape, and contribute to the development of journalism and media sectors. They will also possess critical engagement skills, research capabilities, and the ability to embrace technological advancements.

MA students in a group photo with members of the Pioneer Class and the Department of Journalism and Communication Leadership and Staff after the engagement. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
MA students in a group photo with members of the Pioneer Class and the Department of Journalism and Communication Leadership and Staff after the engagement.

As the pioneer group of these programs, the students play a crucial role in shaping their future and are encouraged to make the most of their education while being mindful of the challenges that may arise along the way.

The writer is also a pioneer student of MA Strategic and Corporate Communication and Communications Officer, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH).

Photography by Ainebyoona Jill

Humanities & Social Sciences

CHUSS Presents the highest number of PhDs & Best Humanities Student at the Mak 74th Graduation

Published

on

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and the Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs-Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja with UPDF Officers and Graduates on Day 5 of the 74th Graduation Ceremony. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

During the Mak 74th Graduation ceremony, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) was recognized for outstanding performance. Besides leading in the production of the highest number of Doctoral candidates, CHUSS delivered the overall best humanities student and 85 UPDF officers who graduated with Diplomas and degrees in defence and security studies.

The college was also honored for  delivering the First Black African Recipient of the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award”,  and  its staff appointments on regional and internal bodies and partnerships bearing fruits. Six members of staff were also announced   for the Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards 2023. The college was hailed for  authoring the centennial book highlighting the 100 years of the university service to humanity that was launched by the First lady and Minister of Education and Sports.

30 PhD candidates presented

Some of the the PhD Graduands in a group photo at the Freedom Square. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the the PhD Graduands in a group photo at the Freedom Square.

For the third time, CHUSS presented the highest number of PhDs totaling 30 out of 132 PhDs across the ten colleges representing 23%. The college also presented 260 Masters graduands out of 1585 across colleges a percentage share of 16.4% becoming the second to the College of Health Sciences. CHUSS also presented 1366 candidates for the award of Bachelor’s  degrees, out of 11,016 ( 0.1%) and 45 postgraduate diploma candidates  out of 156  (29%) across colleges. In total, the college presented close to 2000 candidates during the 5th session of the Mak 74th graduation ceremony held on 2nd February 2024.

The Principal CHUSS Prof. Josephine Ahikire presented the Doctoral Candidates. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Principal CHUSS Prof. Josephine Ahikire presented the Doctoral Candidates.

Presiding over the graduation ceremony, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe commended CHUSS leadership and staff for the consistent leadership in graduate output.

“This is a groundbreaking achievement. We congratulate the college leadership led by Prof. Josephine Ahikire for maintaining the lead in graduate output for three consecutive graduation ceremonies. Our  goal is to graduate at least 200 PhDs per year in response to the World Bank call of at least 100,000 PhDs for Africa over the next 10 years, in order to pull our continent out of poverty”, Prof. Nawangwe appreciated

85 UPDF officers presented for graduation

A section of the UPDF officers in a group photo at the  Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A section of the UPDF officers in a group photo at the  Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility.

The college presented 85 Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) generals, senior and junior staff officers who graduated with masters, bachelors and diplomas after completing studies in different disciplines related to defence, security and medical studies.The Vice Chancellor applauded CHUSS for this partnership noting that, it was historical.

“This is historical in the lifetime of Makerere and the UPDF where for the first time, a huge number of officers from our affiliated institutions of the National Defence College Uganda and Senior Command and Staff College Kimaka  are  walking away with awards. We congratulate Brig.  Flavia Byekaso, Brig. Gen. Ruteran and Col. Edith Nakalema and the entire security team upon this achievement.”        

UPDF officers sing to the national anthems during the graduation ceremony in the Freedom Square. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
UPDF officers sing to the national anthems during the graduation ceremony in the Freedom Square.

The Best Humanities Student Awarded

CHUSS also presented the best performing undergraduate student in the humanities. Mr.Tusubira Silas Wamala  graduated with a Bachelor of Chinese and Asian Studies and tied with Atukunda Kevin of the  a Bachelor of International Business (MUBS),  with a CGPA of 4.84 out of 5.0.  The students received plaques and one million shillings each from Makerere University Convocation chaired by Mr. George Turyamureeba.

Mr. Tusubira Silas Wamala displays his plaque. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Tusubira Silas Wamala displays his plaque. 

Assoc. Prof. Susan Kiguli’s Lifetime Achievement Award highlighted

The Vice Chancellor reported that on the global Scene,  CHUSS  delivered the First Black African recipient of the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award” in Italy at the Vercelli Seminar in August 2023. Makerere‘s Poet and Literary scholar, Assoc. Prof. Susan Kiguli who denounces violence and abuse of power in the black context was at the centre of the festival and Chief guest. Kiguli’s first book in Italy  titled, The Weeping Lands” was published and launched fetching  another prize called, the “Ali sul Mediterraneo Libri & Cultura” international award.”

Hon. Peace Regis Mutuzo, One of the PhD candidates receives her certificate from the Vice Chancellor. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. Peace Regis Mutuzo, One of the PhD candidates receives her certificate from the Vice Chancellor.

Six members of staff Receive the Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards 2023

Prof. Nawangwe reported that as a result of the various partnerships forged over time, research output in terms of innovations and publications has increased. The Vice Chancellor announced  the inaugural Makerere University Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards, in recognition of outstanding performers in research and publication.

The award was based on the highest number of publications between the year 2017 and 2023 according to the Scopus database. Health Science Professors Moses Robert Kamya and Rhoda Wanyenze emerged as the Best Overall Male and Female Researchers respectively. Prof. Moses Robert Kamya has 271 publications and Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze has 153 publications in the aforementioned period.

Some of the CHUSS faculty during the procession. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the CHUSS faculty during the procession.

The Vice Chancellor recognized and congratulated six CHUSS researchers listed and published in the Graduation Booklet and the Mak News Magazine. The researchers were honored by the Vice Chancellor and Chairperson of Makerere University during the Convocation luncheon held at Makerere University Convocation House.

CHUSS best researchers included: Assoc. Prof. Walakira Eddy, Dr. Neema Stella, Dr. Baluku  Martin, Dr. Kizito Simon, Dr. Mabingo Alfdaniels and Assoc. Prof. Twikirize Mwende Janestic. 

Prof. Nawangwe urged all staff to continue conducting research on national development priorities as well as matters of global interest and publishing their work in high-impact journals so as contribute to Makerere’s drive to become a research-led university. He also advised on the need for the research to lead to patents, copyrights and trademarks, and tangible innovations in the form of products, policy briefs, manuals and others.

Some of the Masters candidates being awarded their degrees in the Freedom Square. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the Masters candidates being awarded their degrees in the Freedom Square.

Partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Vice Chancellor extended gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its Royal Embassy in Uganda as one of the development partners working with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University. Nawangwe reported that the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, and Makerere University have worked on several projects including a grant that benefited close to a hundred students who received bursaries to study Arabic at Makerere University and ICT equipment which have supported the teaching of Arabic language in the School of Languages, Literature and Communication.

“We also acknowledge the generous support to our moslem staff to fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam- Pilgrim to Mecca. We are also grateful for the ongoing initiatives being made to establish the Centre for Arabic Language Studies at CHUSS, support training and research in Oil and Gas, ICT and Engineering”. The Professor acknowledged.

Prof. Lyn Ossome, Director MISR elected President of CODESRIA 2023-2026

Prof. Lyn Ossome attending the graduation ceremony. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Lyn Ossome attending the graduation ceremony.

In his speech, the Vice Chancellor  reported that the university participated in the 16th Council for Development of Social Sciences Research in Africa (CODESRIA) General Assembly on 4th to 8th December 2023 that was held in Dakar, Senegal where Prof. Lyn Ossome was elected president. The University also received a donation of 79 books from CODESRIA which were delivered and presented to the university library.

Launch of the Makerere University @100 book

Prof. Nawangwe informed the congregation that,  as part of the Makerere centennial celebrations, the university has been able, with a team of editors and authors, to map out the 100-year journey of Makerere University. This book, titled Makerere’s Century of Service to East Africa and Beyond: 1922-2022 tells Makerere’s unique story as a university serving Uganda, East Africa and the world.

 “As we consolidate our place on the knowledge generation stage, we are proud to share this publication with you. We specifically look forward to keep building for the future in the next 100 years of our University’s existence”. “I thank the following editors: Prof. A.B. Kasozi, Prof. Josephine Ahikire, Prof. Dominica Dipio, Prof. Helen Byamugisha and Dr. Isaac Tibasiima for the commitment to this noble task. I am delighted to report that this book has been published by our very own Makerere University Press”. The Vice Chancellor stated.

The book was officially launched by the  First lady and Minister of Education and Sports represented by the State Minister for higher education Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo witnessed by Chairperson of Council and members of top management.

The Vice chancellor highlighted a number of achievements recorded in the last two years including the issuance of transcripts and certificates before the graduation, the ground breaking research, innovations and partnerships.

Prof. Nawangwe acknowledged the support accorded by various stakeholders including Government of Uganda, development partners, parents and guardians, sponsors, and staff, without whom, it would have been impossible for the university to achieve the various milestones recorded over the years.

Some of the graduands jubilate during the award ceremony. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the graduands jubilate during the award ceremony.

Vice Chancellor’s Message to the graduands

In his key message to the graduands, Prof. Nawangwe described graduation  as the most important and most memorable day in the life of any scholar on grounds that it is a license to succeed in life,  and a privilege to serve humanity.

“You have worked hard to get a degree or diploma from one of the best universities in the World. This is a license for you to succeed in whatever you choose to do in your life career. But always remember that success will only come with discipline and hard work, while honoring your parents and fearing God.

Shortly you will become an alumnus of this great institution. Cherish the knowledge and experiences you have collected while here, but remember that learning never ends. Our gates remain open for you if you wish to pursue higher degrees”, the professor advised.

With a degree from one of the best universities in the World, Prof. Nawangwe stressed, that graduates have no reason not to succeed in life.

“Indeed, the World is yours to conquer. If jobs are not forthcoming, create them, for we have empowered you not only to be employable, but also to be entrepreneurs. Be the light that others will follow. We are proud that we have been a part of your life, that we have given you the knowledge and courage to face life in this ever-changing World.  Go out to the World and make it a better place”. He emphasized.

Hon. Peace Regis Mutuzo, Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso, Brig. Gen. Edith Nakalema  and other candidates during the graduation ceremony. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 5, 2nd February 2024 Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. Peace Regis Mutuzo, Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso, Brig. Gen. Edith Nakalema  and other candidates during the graduation ceremony.

The Mak 74th Graduation statistics

During the course of the 74th graduation ceremony (Monday 29th January to 2nd February 2024)  a total of 12,913 graduands  received degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, a total of 132 graduands  graduated with PhDs, 1585 with Masters degrees, 11,016 with Bachelor’s degrees, 156 with postgraduate diplomas, and 24 with undergraduate diplomas.

53% of the graduands were female and 47% were male. In the category of PhD graduands, 46 were female and 86 were male. In the category of students graduating with Master’s degrees, 699 were female and 886 were male.

View on CHUSS

Continue Reading

Humanities & Social Sciences

Mak & Wits Forum on Sidelines of NAM & G77 Summits Debates African Agency

Published

on

The Chief Guest-Prof. Josephine Ahikire (2nd R) with Right to Left: Dr. Bob Wekesa, Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala and Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi post for a group photo at the Forum on 19th January 2024 in the Council Room, Makerere University. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

On Friday 19th January 2024, Makerere University in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand’s African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS) held a Forum based on the theme “Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices.” Dubbed the only academic event on the sidelines of the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, and the Third South Summit organized under the framework of Group 77 (G77) and China, the event was among other objectives aimed at giving a platform for youth to discuss the notion of African Agency.

Providing an overview and conceptual understanding of the forum, Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala, Director of ACSUS noted that African Agency is an important notion particularly in the gradual shift from a bipolar to a promising multipolar world. “We are celebrating the end of what we describe as American hegemony, and now moving into a phase where there is a semblance of multiplicity of powers emerging globally.”

Describing agency as “the ability of Africans to advance their voice globally”, Prof. Khadiagala noted that this agency had since the decolonization period of the 1960s been subject to the dilemma of either advancing as 50-plus sovereign African States or as a collective. He nevertheless opined that “there is no real effective African Agency if we are not talking about Agency as a collective enterprise.”

Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala (Left) and Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Right) interact during the Forum. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala (Left) and Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Right) interact during the Forum.

Prof. Khadiagala therefore paid tribute to the first NAM Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in April 1955 for inviting Africa to the discussion table even before several States had gained independence. He equally acknowledged the G77 Meeting of 1979 held in Arusha, Tanzania as having given birth to “the new international economic order”, which became a rallying point for the promotion of global economic reforms. This new international economic order, he added, was unfortunately dealt a harsh blow in 1982, when the powers in Washington and England insisted that they would only negotiate with individual Nation States.

The abyss that NAM and the G77 went into after 1982 notwithstanding, Prof. Khadiagala noted that the hosting of the NAM plus G77 and China Summits in Kampala and the subsequent assuming of the Chairmanship by Uganda was worth celebrating. He regarded this shift as an opportunity for Africa to seize the moment, begin to set the agenda and be in the driver’s seat of the Non-Aligned Movement, and not just be guests at the table where key decisions are made as has hitherto been the case.

Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration who moderated the forum thanked Prof. Khadiagala and ASUS for partnering with Makerere to organize the event, noting that it is in tandem with a project focused on the Historicizing and Rethinking Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences at Makerere University since 1922. The publication from the project, he added, deeply interrogates the topic of African Agency.

Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi moderates the Forum. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi moderates the Forum.

He further noted that whereas no NAM Youth Summit had been organized at the Kampala Edition, the outcome of the Forum, a comprehensive report, will highlight the voices of youth, “Interrogating the question of the African Agency as it is playing out at the moment in the NAM and G77.”

In addition to the report, Dr. Kaweesi shared that an edited volume of the book based on the Forum theme will be published within the year. The book will be a publication of Makerere University and the University of the Witwatersrand.

The Deputy Director ACSUS, Dr. Bob Wekesa noted that the longstanding collaboration between Makerere and Wits affords both institutions the opportunity to advance partnerships in terms of joint research, exchange of faculty and students, and joint fieldwork. Turning to the timing of the Forum, he added that the “NAM and G77 Summits provide an opportune moment for us to demonstrate in real terms that we are actually very pragmatic and working towards tangible areas of partnership.”

Dr. Bob Wekesa makes his remarks. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Bob Wekesa makes his remarks.

The Chief Guest at the Forum and Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Prof. Josephine Ahikire thanked the key parties in the collaboration between Makerere and Wits for convening the event and expressed CHUSS’ commitment to support similar initiatives.

“We are really committed to advancing what we have called the African Voice and African Intellectualism. This is why when we talk about NAM, especially in the fact that it is described in the sense of what it is not, ‘Non-Aligned’, I think ‘What are we aligned to?’ should be the most important question” remarked the Principal.

Prof. Ahikire further emphasised the need for we the Africans to go beyond the buzzword of decolonization and mean business by revalidating African epistemologies, African indigenous knowledge systems and African languages. She therefore called for the creation of many more spaces such as the day’s Forum to articulate the African visions and what is referred to by the notion of global south.

The Chief Guest and Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Chief Guest and Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire.

“Somebody asked ‘Who is an African?’ that question is as political as you can imagine but definitely, the answer and the solution is in the definition of what you mean by African, whether on the continent or in the diaspora, the voice around critiquing global marginalization, and sometimes it is self-marginalization especially when we negate everything that is African” said. Prof. Ahikire.

The Principal added that beyond the toll on human life posed by COVID-19, the pandemic demonstrated that African indigenous knowledge systems offered precious lessons that we ought to take forward. “There was a reminder to return to humanity, to Ubuntu, and the things that began to matter were not actually things (property) but new ways of living humanity. Those are the kinds of lessons that we could take to defining and envisioning our futures and not always lamenting.”

Panelists from Left to Right: Dr. Bob Wekesa, Advocate Francis Gimara, Dr. David Ngendo-Tshimba, Mr. Benon Hebert Oluka and Dr. Charles Batte. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Panelists from Left to Right: Dr. Bob Wekesa, Advocate Francis Gimara, Dr. David Ngendo-Tshimba, Mr. Benon Hebert Oluka and Dr. Charles Batte.

Following the official opening ceremony, the Principal was gifted a copy of the book “Africa’s policy towards the US: The Biden Era” edited by Bob Wekesa. The event also served as an opportunity to launch the book “China’s Footprint in East Africa: Pessimism versus Optimism” written by Bob Wekesa.

The Forum was also enriched panel discussions based on the themes; African agency towards global South powers and The intersection of Agenda 2063, EAC policies, and the global South. The combined panel discussion from the themes was moderated by Dr. Gardner Rwakiseta Herbert from Julius Nyerere Leadership Center (JNLC) and featured as panelists; Dr. Charles Bate from Tree Adoption Uganda, and Mr. Benon Hebert Oluka from the Global Investigative Journalism Network of the African Union Media Fellowship. Additional panelists included Advocate Francis Gimara, Dr. David Ngendo-Tshimba from Uganda Martyrs University, and Dr. Bob Wekesa.

Some of the participants pose for a group photo. Left is Prof. Julius Kiiza one of the presenters of the day, while one of the panelists Dr. William Tayeebwa is Second Left. Some of the Forum Moderators are Dr. Eunice Akullo (Rear: 7th Left) and Dr. Gerald Walulya (Rear: 8th Right). Seated Right is one of the Forum Coordinators Ms. Ritah Namisango. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the participants pose for a group photo. Left is Prof. Julius Kiiza one of the presenters of the day, while one of the panelists Dr. William Tayeebwa is Second Left. Some of the Forum Moderators are Dr. Eunice Akullo (Rear: 7th Left) and Dr. Gerald Walulya (Rear: 8th Right). Seated Right is one of the Forum Coordinators Ms. Ritah Namisango.

A second panel discussion tackled the theme Amplifying African voices: media and summit diplomacy and was moderated by Dr. Gerald Walulya from Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University and featured Dr. William Tayeebwa from the same Department. Dr. Eunice Akullo from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration then moderated a presentation by Prof. Julius Kiiza of the same Department on the theme Gender and youth perspectives on African agency in the global South.

The Forum was coordinated by Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi, Mr. Solomon Winyi, and the Principal Public Relations Officer Ms. Ritah Namisango.

Click the video below to watch full proceedings of the Forum

Mak & Wits (ACSUS) Africa in The Global South Forum – Sidelines of 19th NAM & 3rd South G77+China Summits

Continue Reading

Humanities & Social Sciences

CHUSS Researchers Call for Review of Rules on Acquisition of National IDs to Address the Aguu Phenomenon in Northern Uganda

Published

on

Left to Right: MP Gulu City-Hon. Betty Achan, Acholi Chief Rwot Yusuf Adek, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs-Hon. Nobert Mao and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance & Administration)-Prof. Henry Arinaitwe during the convention on 14th December 2023. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.

Researchers from Makerere University College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) led by Prof. Josephine Ahikire – the Principal Investigator have called on government to revise rules pertaining to the acquisition of National Identity Cards (IDs) to address the question of the Aguu floating  population of the Acholi sub- region in Northern Uganda.

The Aguus are largely the Acholi floating population who were displaced during the LRA war. Some lost their parents or were born during captivity. They think they are not part of society.  Most of these, are largely street children without fathers and mothers and, do not own or have access to land and all sorts of amenities. For that reason, they have to struggle to survive and in the struggle to survive, they engage in criminal and violent activities. They way-lay people, rape, steal and storm functions to loot food.

The researchers are also calling for the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, particularly to address the human aspect, repair their souls and skill them for survival if the region is to return to the original social cohesion.

The communities according to the researchers have to change the orientation that creates the floating population and to accept that they were disrupted by the war and therefore understand that these children need to regain their humanness.

Mak PAF students acting a play on how the Aguus wreck residents on their way. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Mak PAF students acting a play on how the Aguus wreck residents on their way.

Since 2019, CHUSS in collaboration with Amani Institute, Uganda in Gulu, has been conducting  a study on Gender Justice, Livelihood and Rights in Northern Uganda. The collaborative study was conducted under the Gender Justice and Security hub, funded by the London School of Economics and Political Science, through the UK Research Innovation.

The Research team comprised Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Co Director Gender Justice and Security Hub), Dr. Amon Ashaba Mwiine (Lead Researcher), Ms. Acayo Gloria (Researcher), Ms. Harriet Pamara (Researcher) and Mr. Aklam Amanya, (Researcher). The study covered the Acholi sub-region where the team purposively sampled   four districts of Gulu, Pader, Amuru and Omoro.

On 14th December, 2023, CHUSS, in collaboration with Amani Institute, Uganda hosted a national convention at Fairway Hotel I Kampala to  foster a national conversation with a special focus on the issue of floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon in the Acholi sub region as one of the factors that undermines return to social cohesion.

This convention built on previous conversations that have highlighted categories of populations that emerged from war with a loss of social identity and belonging aimed at amplifying voice on these post war social struggles as issues with broader national implications.

The convention brought  together national level stakeholders, policy makers from ministries, Departments and Agencies, local governments, academics and researchers, cultural leaders, and civil society organizations in and beyond the Acholi sub region region under the Theme: The Aguu Phenomenon: Floating Populations and the Quest for Social Belonging in Acholi, Northern Uganda.

The Principal Investigator Prof. Josephine Ahikire said, Northern Uganda was chosen on the argument that, even though the guns are silent and despite the significant investments in post war recovery, there is still violence of another kind.

The Research team according to Prof. Ahikire, explored the existing post-conflict conflicts and the gender layering within them, examined the dynamics within rights claims on land, livelihoods and gender justice and took stock of the community’s resilience, efforts and initiatives towards return to sustainable peace.

Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Left), Dr. Milton Wabyona (2nd Left) join students entertaining guests. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Left), Dr. Milton Wabyona (2nd Left) join students entertaining guests.

“We started with land conflicts and then as we were looking at women’s land rights, we bumped into this issue of Aguu – children mainly whose fathers are not not known, they are castigated and they are floating in a sense.

And the conversation in the fora that we have been in Gulu is that, according to the Acholi culture, there is no child that should float. That a child is always a child. So, if a child is born out of wedlock or if the father is not known, that  particular child, is supposed to belong to the mothers clan,” Ahikire explained.

That sort  of cultural terrain according to the PI was disrupted by the war as people got displaced, as land got grabbed  and got individualized, they created new norms which  have castigated these children because it means that they do not have a claim to land.

Prof. Ahikire said, the research team also heard from government officials that because the Aguus   do not have claim from known clans, they cannot have national Identity cards.

“This is a very big issue but which has been securiticised as criminal gangs. These are not criminals. These are children that have been excluded from belonging and that is why we thought of performances using the theater to bring the point home that these children need belonging. It is a cry, a voice from Aguu –give us social belonging and an identity. If we don’t, in all discussions, it has been seen as a new war – they kill, rape, steal and some are armed, it is a big national issue,  a gender issue and a development issue.”, the Professor warned.

The Principal Investigator, Prof. Josephine Ahikire making her welcome remarks during the convention. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
The Principal Investigator, Prof. Josephine Ahikire making her welcome remarks during the convention.

As a government, Ahikire stressed that there is need to engage the communities to change that orientation that creates the floating population and to accept that, they were disrupted by the war but now, need to regain humanness.

Prof. Ahikire emphasized that government has a role to play, because it has a bigger mandate to ensure that the region returns to the original social cohesion.

She credited government for the reconstruction of materials things like roads etc but observed that, the repair of the human aspect and the soul was not done. The disgruntled people and children born in captivity according the researchers came back to a strange place that castigates them and that is where the energy needs to be put.

“The Ministry of Gender, the Ministry of  Justice and Constitutional Affairs and rules around national IDs have to change because, if a child is born and does not know the origin or the father, does that mean that a child was not bon in Uganda? These are artificial things we put as human beings to organize ourselves as clans but this should not be a major determinant for a person to get a national ID. That is something simple that government can do to ensure that these children can be long and function as citizens”, the Professor advised.

Mak PAF students perform on stage as the Aguus voicing their demand for social inclusion. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Mak PAF students perform on stage as the Aguus voicing their demand for social inclusion.

Prof. Ahikire further called for more rehabilitation of the Aguus  in terms of skills- building to make them productive and self-reliant. Those who can go to school can be enabled to go to school and those who can be helped in terms of vocational skills can be helped, but, the bottom line according to Prof. Ahikire is  that something has to be done quickly because the region is going into the silent war, and  if it becomes of a major scale, it will not be managed  because these children are becoming adults  giving children and therefore the  whole region and nation will be at stake.

Ahikire reported that the Aguu is subculture and un underground culture whose numbers are not known. What is known is what they do. They way-lay people from the markets, those going to the university, and storm functions such as parties, funerals and weddings causing harvoc, looting and eating food as a means of survival and some even have guns.

Because it is an under culture,  Prof. Ahikire said, there has not been an effort to count them and this is the time, if they are given that chance to come out.

She acknowledged that local government in Gulu district has tried to bring some of the Aguus out  through initiatives such as cleaning the city but this is not enough-it has to be a very intentional intervention  that seeks these children out, show them love, and nurture them as citizens that  belong to  nation called Uganda, to the culture called Acholi and the neighboring districts.

Mak PAF students perform on stage the social tension between the Aguus and the community. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Mak PAF students perform on stage the social tension between the Aguus and the community.

Representing the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Assoc. Prof. Henry Arinaitwe commended CHUSS for an inquest into the Aguu floating population in search for solutions.

Aguus are people who are displaced, people who have no identity and for survival, are  forced to involve in criminal activity and seem not to belong to a particular society.  So this function is basically to find solutions for such people in Acholi sub-region.

Makerere is a research-led University. So, we research on all aspects of life in order to find solutions. This research is on Aguu population  and our researchers are  presenting their findings and  engaging MPs from the region, government representatives, the CSOs and the representatives of the Aguus, in order to find solutions”, He said.

Prof. Henry Arinaitwe (3rd Left) on stage with Mak PAF students in Acholi dance. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Prof. Henry Arinaitwe (3rd Left) on stage with Mak PAF students in Acholi dance.

The dissemination involved theatrical performances using art and music as a tool directed by Dr. Viola Karungi and Dr. Milton Wabyona from the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF)  From the performance, the Aguus think society is the problem and society thinks Aguus are the problem but concludes that if the common solution can be found, everybody will live a decent life  have  a sense of belonging and Acholi sub-region will be secure.

Government reminded to fully implement the Juba Peace Agreement

Presiding over the convention as Chief Guest, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Norbert Mao expressed the need for government to fully implement the Juba Peace Agreement if the question of the Aguus is to be resolved.

The function was also graced by officials from the Gender Ministry, members of parliament from Acholi sub-region, NGOs and CSO, Members of the academia, children called by the derogatory name Aguu and students of Performing Arts and  Film.

Minister Mao commended the researchers for the collaborative nature of the study and shading light on the status of the people of Northern Uganda. He also interested the research team   to highlight the cause of the Aguu phenomenon describing the academicians as the Gurus (dispellers of darkens).

Hon. Norbert Mao (4th Left) joins students of Performing Arts and Film to entertain guests. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Hon. Norbert Mao (4th Left) joins students of Performing Arts and Film to entertain guests.

“In that respect, a university has a very important role because a university is supposed to be  a protected area – a knowledge reserve, the way forests, lakes and wetlands are …what  we call academic freedom – the freedom to research, the freedom to publish, the freedom to think and the freedom to express what you have found out. This therefore is a collaboration which we should salute- a collaboration between an academic institution which has the duty to shade light”. The minister commended.

Hon.  Mao called for more government commitments to building a post conflict society especially the full implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement. The minister implored parliamentarians from Acholi,  Teso and West Nile regions to treat the Juba Peace Agreement as their key document and manifesto.

“You must master it and use it as the standard of debating with government. Treat  it as a written and bounced cheque by government, where you  should go back and demand”, Hon. Mao advised

Minister Norbert Mao addressing participants as Chief Guest. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Minister Norbert Mao addressing participants as Chief Guest.

The minister also implored all stakeholders to address  the Aguu question by moving away from the symptomatic assessment  to finding out the causal relationship between the abortive demobilization, disarmament, reintegration and resettlement project.

“As a government of Uganda, we have framed the Aguu issue as a problem of the criminal justice system. So, we are directing the Aguu as a security problem, as  criminal justice and were are not  looking at it as a social and humanitarian problem”, Mao stated and hailed the university for creating awareness through theatre. The performance concluded that the blame game creates a vicious cycle as  the Aguus blame society and  vice –versa .

The Minister assured participants that it is the duty of the state to ensure that it is very risky to kill any Ugandan, to snatch ladies handbags, injure anyone or  threaten anybody going home from the market and that, it is the duty of the state to draw that line and make sure that  whoever does it, does it at  a very high risk and there should be no incentive.

Hon. Mao’s central thesis is that the Aguu phenomenon which is characterized by violence and disorderly conduct  is neither, genetic nor hereditary. It is a learned behavior, a coping mechanism  and a response to circumstances and social environments.

“So we must look at the social environment and the circumstances. Our children have been exposed to a lot of violence and that partly explains their aggressive behavior because the major feature of being an Aguu is aggressiveness. Aguus are well-known for mobs. If there is a burial they go and position themselves and when the time for food comes, they physically disrupt the serving. When there is a wedding, there are there but they fear guns”, the minister explained.

Hon. Norbert Mao (in black suit) joins Mak PAF students in Acholi dance. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Hon. Norbert Mao (in black suit) joins Mak PAF students in Acholi dance.

The minister also reported that the Aguus have become mercenaries and hired gangs because there is a vacuum by the security forces to enforce the laws. Otherwise, he said, they would have become irrelevant. They see that violence is the only way to get what they want and only way to solve problems.

Hon. Mao further said, the Aguu is largely, a local government issue on grounds that it is their duty to put these people in places where they can acquire new habits of waking up and knowing that money is worked for.

“These young people should get new habits because, if your habit is to wake up in the morning with a list of where there is a funeral, public function, with spies everywhere, how can it be un done?- by inculcating a culture of work. Our young people must be made to love to work”, the minister stated.

Minister Mao also attributed the Aguu phenomenon on parenting as another frontier.

“I also know that parents have resigned. It is natural to be rebellious. Given how young Uganda’s population is , we must have a program which gives young people an opportunity to turn that corner, it is never too late, let us tell our young children that it is possible to change . We must plant a seed in the minds of all children that they have potential to change for better and be useful to society”, Mao advised all including parents and relatives.

Director of theartre perfomance Dr. Viola Karungi speaking during the convention. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Director of theartre perfomance Dr. Viola Karungi speaking during the convention.

The Research Process

The Lead Researcher Dr. Amon Mwine from the School of Women and Gender Studies said the study investigated people’s everyday experiences of return from protracted war, their relationships on land, livelihood patterns, emerging post conflicts and how these   influence gender relations.

The study, he said drew on a mixture of methods of collaborative knowledge production in different phases of field visits.

Dr. Mwine said the dominant discourses identified by participants in postwar Acholi was on the emerging categories of population called the floating population, a social  term referring to categories of people with  precarious identities in the post-conflict setting  ie those born in camps, returned from the bush, people with  no known parents, no clan identity and no ancestral  land (identity) also, described as  people  who are detached  from Acholi history and  culture, described by denigrating  labels.

Besides the theme of the floating population, Dr. Mwine said several social concerns were identified. These included land conflicts in form of contest over boundaries, shifts in customary   land tenure systems and increasing intolerance of nephews and nieces fearing land claims from children with multiple identities.

The research team  according to Dr. Mwine also noted the dominant conversation on social disruption and psychological trauma that hardly gain precedence in post –conflict recovery agenda. Mwine also reported that there were increasing cases of gender based violence, teenage pregnancies and psycho- social trauma and reported spike in the cases of male suicide in the region

Mak PAF students perform on stage how the Aguus terrorise and waylay people and rob them. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Mak PAF students perform on stage how the Aguus terrorise and waylay people and rob them.

Mwine also reported that, there have been increasing reports of criminality in post-war Acholi sub region in both conventional and social media committed by the Aguu terrorizing  community residents and travelers across the region. He said the Aguus were reportedly very organized groups with zones of operation with its leaders. They have identification marks like body piercing, tattoos, hairstyles that help them identify each other and communicate easily.

While some actors especially  local government have intensified security crack down on what is perceived as urban criminality, Dr. Mwine said, other actors focused on rehabilitation and rethinking the role of social structures such as clan, families, religion and traditional institutions  in restoring lost social values.

Policy implications

The Aguu  phenomen according to Dr. Mwine has far reaching policy implications

  1.  Issues of Identity and belonging e.g. the Aguu are complex social relations often taken for granted and not centered in post-conflict recovery programming. They are currently addressed with strategies that constitute Aguu as an issue of morality and criminality, and a problem to economic development, commonly addressed through security crackdown.
  2. Because of their unclear social identity, i.e. no known parents, no clear cultural heritage, and the precarious social settings they operate in, Aguu are most likely to be excluded by the formal citizenry systems eg registration of nationals such as during  acquisition of Identity cards.
  3. Aguu are said to be using tactics and methods closely similar to the ones used during the LRA insurgency- their actions are similar to those individuals who had been in the bush; they use ruthless means like stabbing people with knives, looting people’s property, torture and no value to  human life. Aguu not only instil fear in the population but also threatens sustainable peace in the community. 
Mak PAF students conclude the performance on the need for unity among all stakeholders to address the Aguu phenomenon. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Mak PAF students conclude the performance on the need for unity among all stakeholders to address the Aguu phenomenon.

Learnings and key messages

Dr. Mwine reported that having engaged communities in several dialogues, different lessons were taken from the research process.

  1. One particular learning is on how economic centered post conflict programming e.g. prioritizing investment in physical infrastructure and economic ventures often takes for granted social aspects of recovery.
  2. The centrality of social vitality or the loss of it and its implications for the return to social cohesion in post-conflict communities is apparent.
  3. The question of Aguu as part of the population at the margins of the post – conflict northern Uganda does reveal the need to prioritize post-war social identity. The case of Aguu and the state measures to respond to it declaring security operations is a critical juncture. It points to the need  to rethink the place of culture, traditional systems in enabling belonging and social cohesion.
  4. Rediscovering social connectedness, cultural heritage and a sense of identity in the Acholi community might be one of the core aspects needed to address the Aguu question and facilitate a return to  relative social cohesion.
Mak PAF students directed by Dr. Milton Wabyona (Front Right) entertaining the guests. National convention to foster national conversation on floating populations, specifically the Aguu phenomenon, 14th December 2023, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, organised by CHUSS and Amani Institute.
Mak PAF students directed by Dr. Milton Wabyona (Front Right) entertaining the guests.

View on CHUSS

Continue Reading

Trending