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Mufti Menk urges youth on productivity, social media usage & entrepreneurship

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By Ritah Namisango

Mufti Ismail ibn Musa Menk has urged youth to be productive and hardworking even under great hardships.

“Whatever the country will be, depends on the youth. When you are young, ensure that you are productive. I advise you to encourage each other with love, respect and support in order to develop your country. Pray together, play together and work together,” said Mufti Menk.

He stated: “I am here to tell the youth in Uganda to work and develop their communities. You must develop a positive attitude towards work and your country. I advise you to shun any bad habit so that you become responsible citizens. You must shun laziness, idleness and bad habits such as use of drugs, addiction to alcohol and pornography.  You must develop good habits. When you disagree with someone, let it be with respect.”

This was during the Mufti Menk Public Lecture held at the Makerere University Rugby Grounds on March 8, 2024. Running under the theme, ‘Muslim Youth and Work Ethics’, the lecture was hosted by the Office of the Makerere University Imaam.  He was officially welcomed by Prof. Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, in his capacity as the Acting Vice Chancellor, and Dr. Sowed Juma Mayanja, the University Imaam.

Prof. Umar Kakumba addresses the audience during the public lecture. Mufti Menk Visit and Public Lecture, 8th March 2024, Rugby Grounds, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Umar Kakumba addresses the audience during the public lecture.

Mufti Menk, as he is popularly known, is the grand mufti of Zimbabwe, the head of the fatwa department of the Council of Islamic Scholars of Zimbabwe and a renowned international Muslim scholar and motivational speaker. He holds a degree in Sharia and a doctorate in Social Guidance. His lectures boast a wide audience on YouTube and other social media platforms globally. His lectures and preaching are credited with having converted millions of people to Islam.

Mufti Menk was accompanied by Sheikh Wael Ibrahim from Australia and Dr. Muhammad Salah from Egypt, each of whom was given a preaching session.

Some of the University officials who listened to the lecture include: Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi-Academic Registrar, Mrs Winifred Kabumbuli-Dean of Students, Prof. Abasi Kiyimba-Mak Department of Literature, Dr. Oria Hussein-Chairperson Makerere University Mosque Board, Dr. Muhammed Kiggundu Musoke-Patron (Makerere University Muslim Students Association) MUMSA, Ms Ritah Namisango-Principal Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ahmed Ssentongo (Imaam Emeritus), to mention but a few.

THE LECTURE

The Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umar Kakumba welcomed Mufti Menk and his delegation to Makerere University-the institution that nurtured and trained great men and women who have contributed to the development of the continent. “It is a great honour to host you to speak to the youth on preaching peace, unity and development.”

Mufti Menk acknowledged Makerere University leadership, staff and students for the warm reception. He applauded Allah for the good weather, the green and trees at Makerere University, and for all the good that Allah, bestowed upon Uganda, a beautiful country with hardworking people, organic foods such as very sweet bananas as well as delicious pineapples. He affirmed that Uganda is indeed the pearl of Africa.

Prof. Umar Kakumba (Left), Mufti Menk (3rd Left) and other officials follow proceedings during the lecture. Mufti Menk Visit and Public Lecture, 8th March 2024, Rugby Grounds, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Umar Kakumba (Left), Mufti Menk (3rd Left) and other officials follow proceedings during the lecture.

In his youth-centred lecture, he rallied the youth to be the torch bearers including the realization that they have a great responsibility to determine the destiny of Uganda. He explained that this starts with the youth recognizing this calling, working towards developing a positive attitude, believing that they can make a positive difference, shunning bad habits, and committing to being responsible citizens.

“To the youth and everyone here, I encourage you to build yourself. No one is going to build you up, if you do not,” he remarked, before adding  “You are young, the future is in your hands, if you do the right things, the future will be bright.”

He reminded the youth to avoid words of hate for they bring about destruction. “Watch your words, watch your mouth. If you do not agree with someone, disagree with respect.”

Aware of the existence of a number of religious groups, Mufti Menk acknowledged this diversity and offered a message of living in harmony with one another.  “Be careful about how you disagree with people from another faith. If we disagree, it should be with respect.”

Mufti Menk delivers his lecture to part of the majority-youth audience. Mufti Menk Visit and Public Lecture, 8th March 2024, Rugby Grounds, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mufti Menk delivers his lecture to part of the majority-youth audience.

To the youth from poor backgrounds, Mufti Menk provided a message of hope and encouragement pointing out that many people from such backgrounds have succeeded in life. “Even if you come from a poor background, you can achieve. I encourage you to work hard, keep trying, never give up, and you will achieve.”

Tackling leadership, Mufti Menk guided that true leadership is heavily anchored in solving problems, and not fleeing from them. “Differences between us are normal, but differences can make us or break us depending on how we handle them. Those who aim to solve the problems and conflicts in the family, the Ummah or the country are the true leaders.”

Mufti Menk said the youth should be agitated if they lose connection with Allah. He advised youth to target their efforts and love towards Allah, above anyone and anything else, and to avoid doing things that displease Allah and compromise their relationship with Allah. He called upon the youth to uphold the importance of prayer. “Whatever you do, ask for Allah’s guidance. Do not ever get prayer out of your life.”

He implored the youth to use social media constructively such as learning, doing business and job creation, instead of gossip, hate speech, pornography, addiction and general idleness. “Take the example of TikTok; the bad side of TikTok is spreading faster than the good side. So, I urge you, when you see a good and useful message on TikTok, do not just read it and flip on; instead, like it and forward it to many people so that the good messages can outnumber the bad ones.”

Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli (Left) and Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (Right) follow proceedings. Mufti Menk Visit and Public Lecture, 8th March 2024, Rugby Grounds, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli (Left) and Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (Right) follow proceedings.

The Mufti cautioned the youth against disrespecting people they may not agree with. “Even in Islam, there are many sects, but they are all part of the Ummah, and should be accommodated. Everyone makes mistakes. Even married couples or siblings disagree. Therefore, you should learn to live with diverse people in the Ummah or in your country. You should emulate Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who would painstakingly speak to people in the wrong, to win them over and expand the Ummah,” he counseled.

Mufti Menk urged youth to fight bad habits, especially addictions such as pornography, substance abuse, adultery, hate speech and gossip. He advised them to be on the guard to resist temptations that arise from the various media in our hypersexual age. To achieve this, he said, youth need to develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

 “Do not be shy; look for help whenever you are in problems of addiction. Be careful and selective because the media promotes a lot of bad desires and behaviours. Care for and help one another. None of you is useless, but you must realize this fact yourself. Drop the negative attitude, and adopt a positive attitude towards different situations and relationships.”

On entrepreneurship, Mufti Menk shared his belief that it provides a solution to lack of jobs and unemployment of the youth. “There is a blessing in entrepreneurship. Sometimes Allah has chosen you for business /entrepreneurship,” he highlighted.  

Mufti Menk urged the youth to use social media productively and avoid hate speech. Mufti Menk Visit and Public Lecture, 8th March 2024, Rugby Grounds, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mufti Menk urged the youth to use social media productively and avoid hate speech.

He appealed to the youth to continue searching for jobs. “Don’t give up looking for jobs, scarce as they may be. But, in the meantime, buy something and sell it, do some entrepreneurship. Avoid complaining, and never give up! However intelligent you may be, never stop praying to and trusting in Allah! Never take prayer out of the equation! Also, help those more challenged or vulnerable than you, such as orphans, widows, persons with disabilities or the unemployed.”

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Other activities of the day included Qur’anic recitation by a male student, three preaching sessions, Jummah prayers and Asr prayers.

Being the International Women’s Day, the preaching during the Jummah prayers focused on the fact that Islam gave a lot of rights to women such as inheritance of property. However, the preacher stressed that according to Allah, obligations are more important than rights for every human being.   

On March 9, the Mufti attended a religious and interactive cooperation dinner at Serena Kampala hotel for charity causes, where a ticket cost Shs 150,000 for individual person and Shs 5 million for a table.

The organizers of the Mufti’s visit to Uganda said they had invited all Imaams of the 15,000 mosques in the country and all district khadis to the activities of both days.

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Dr. Martin Aliker – Celebrating A Life Well Lived

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Dr. Martin Aliker (2nd L) shakes hands with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (2nd R) at the successful conclusion of the Second Edition of the Makerere University Endowment Fund (MakEF) Run (MakRun) on Sunday 25th March 2018 as Prof. William Bazeyo (L) and Dr. Florence Nakayiwa (R) witness.

The Makerere University Council, Senate, Alumni and the entire students’ community has learnt with great sorrow of the death of your beloved head, Dr. Martin Aliker. Please accept our sincerest condolences during this trying time.

Dr. Aliker joined Makerere College then in 1948 and shortly thereafter received a scholarship to join Northwestern University, Illinois where he earned a Bachelor of Political Science. Being an ardent student, he also earned a Fulbright Fellowship at Northwestern University, and graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery, later becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of the United Kingdom.

Dr. Aliker has throughout his long and well-lived life projected an enviable brand, reflective of a professional and hardworking gentleman who has excelled in all walks of life as a distinguished alumnus, scholar, influential business leader, entrepreneurial mentor, and one of Uganda’s and indeed Africa’s and the Commonwealth’s leading senior citizens.

The name Dr. Martin Aliker has stood the test of time as one attributable to dedicated service with impeccable integrity, tested and proven business acumen, making him a distinguished source of inspiration to both the young and old. It was therefore with great pride that Makerere University on 17th July 2014 appointed him as the Chairperson of the pioneer Board of Trustees in charge of the Makerere University Endowment Fund (MakEF).

Under his stewardship, the Inaugural Board had at the end of their term in 2019 grown MakEF’s onshore fund from nothing in 2014 to UGX 1.5 Billion, while the offshore fund was valued at 1.5 Million GBP.

We remain forever thankful to God for the gift of Dr. Martin Aliker’s inspirational life and pray that the good Lord will comfort you his beloved and rest his soul in eternal peace.

Umar Kakumba (PhD)
AG. VICE CHANCELLOR

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Prof. Justin Epelu-Opio, Our Longest Serving DVC Rests

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It is with great sorrow, that the Makerere University Council, Senate, Alumni and the entire students’ community has learnt of the death of Prof. Justin Epelu-Opio.

Our heartfelt consideration goes out to the family upon the loss of a loving Father, Grandfather, Mentor, Son and dear friend. Please accept our sincere condolences. We commit you to God our Father, who alone knows the plans He has for each and every one of us.

Prof. Epelu-Opio was our longest-serving Deputy Vice Chancellor (1993 – 2004), and the last to serve in that position before the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act enacted the two positions of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration). He was not only a great administrator, but also a great academic who selflessly contributed to Makerere University’s transformation. He served humanity with a lot of dedication and touched many lives in Uganda and beyond.

On 16th February 1973, Epelu-Opio took up his appointment as Lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Anatomy, in the then Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. He embarked on his PhD in Veterinary Anatomy the same year and completed it in 1976. Prior to that, he had completed his Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine (1967 – 1971) and Master of Science in Veterinary Anatomy (1971 – 1973) both from the University of Nairobi.

Prof. Epelu-Opio was an ardent student who during his undergraduate studies at the University of Nairobi served as Research Assistant to Prof. RR Hofmann and Prof. Frederick Ian Bantubano Kayanja. He carried on this passion into his graduate studies, where he served as Temporary Technician and Demonstrator to undergraduate students in the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nairobi.

Shortly after completing his PhD, in 1977 he took up the role of Senior Scientific Officer with the Animal Productivity Research Unit (APRU) of the National Committee for Scientific Research (NCSR) in Lusaka, Zambia, until 1982.

Upon his return, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in the then Department of Veterinary Anatomy, a position he held until 1984 when he was appointed to the rank of Associate Professor in the same Department.

In 1985, he was sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a four-month course in Animal Reproduction at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Uppsala University, Sweden, with emphasis on Radioimmunoassay techniques for assessing reproductive performance. That same year, he was appointed Head, Department of Veterinary Anatomy, a position he held until 1990.

During his time as Head of Department, in 1989 Prof. Epelu-Opio was appointed to the rank of Professor. In 1993, he was appointed Deputy-Vice Chancellor, a position he held until he attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2004. He presided over this office during the delicate time when Makerere transitioned from admitting strictly Government-sponsored students to accepting privately-sponsored students. We are grateful that this worked out well and under his supervision, many deserving Ugandans gained access to quality University education.

Beyond the gates of Makerere, Prof. Epelu-Opio was a respected Statesman and elder, whose work as the pioneer Chairman of the Presidential Commission for Teso contributed to the restoration of peace in the sub-region. We are grateful that as a prolific writer, he documented his efforts in; Teso War 1986-1992: Causes and Consequences, a book published by Fountain Publishers.

We therefore stand with the Epelu-Opio family, friends, the Uganda Veterinary Association and all those whose lives he touched upon the loss of this great man. We are nevertheless comforted by the fact that this gallant alumnus did not hide his candle under the covers but lit so many other candles, which will continue to shine bright and perpetuate his legacy.

We remain forever thankful to God for the gift of Prof. Justin Epelu-Opio’s life and pray that the good Lord will rest his soul in eternal peace.

Umar Kakumba (PhD)
AG. VICE CHANCELLOR

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HERS-EA Seventh Academy

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Participants listen to Prof. Maggie Kigozi deliver her keynote address at the HERS-EA Sixth Academy on 3rd July 2023. Photo: Twitter/@HadjahBadr. Grand Global Hotel, Makerere Kikoni, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.

Overview

Higher Education Resource Services, East Africa (HERS-EA) Academy provides an intensive leadership and management development curriculum which equips women with skills needed to advance their personal career development and successfully navigate the institutional environment where they operate. The goal of the HERS-EA training is to raise the proportion of women in leadership and management positions in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Eastern Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda).

The program is focused on managing and leading change, human resource development and institutional effectiveness. The Academy prepares every participant to strengthen and expand her leadership skills by working closely with HERS-EA resource persons and staff. Participants will find the Academy to be a safe environment to share confidential matters.

Following six previous successful Academies, the Seventh HERS-EA ACADEMY will be offered in a one-week blended (virtual and in-person) format (July 19 – 25, 2024), we hope you can be part of the success story. This Academy will be a special one because we expect to be joined by collaborative researchers from USA, it will be part of the 10th Anniversary and it will be hosted by Gulu University in Northern Uganda. It will also include an excursion to a refugee camp, to generate further collaborative research ideas and another, to Murchison Falls National Park, for our wellbeing and reflection session; you won’t want to miss it!

Theme: “Rethinking Women Leadership for the 21st Century

Please see Downloads below for details and the application form.

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