1,992 new students have been registered

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Students of the Faculty of Social Sciences being inducted during the service in Nkoyoyo Hall on September 22 (Photo by Bright Niwaha)

BY DOREEN KAJERU AND AGATHA MUHAISE

This Advent Semester, Uganda Christian University has registered 1,992 new students. Of these, 1,644 were admitted for the undergraduate programmes at Mukono campus while 264 were admitted at Kampala campus.

Eighty-four students were admitted for postgraduate studies, and a total of 3,424 continuing students have been recorded in the registration of the new and continuing students that started on August 31.

Mrs Christa Oluka, the Admissions and Students’ Records manager, has informed The Standard that this semester’s student registration shows a 0.7% increase in the expected number of students registered, compared to last year, September.”

The undergraduate courses have registered students in the faculties of Business and Administration, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Science and Technology, Law, Education and Arts and the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology.

Postgraduate students have registered in all the faculties except Law.

 

The induction

On the September 22, these new students were inducted at Nkoyoyo Hall, Mukono campus.

During the service, Dr John Senyonyi, the vice chancellor of UCU, delivered a sermon entitled “Intellect as God’s image in me” drawn from Genesis 1:26-31.

Senyonyi took his congregation back to the beginning, when God made man in his own image. He said that unlike animals, people have a spiritual, moral, relational, physical and most importantly intellectual likeness to God.

“It is because of this replicationthatwehave an incalculable worth as human beings, and that is why abortion is evil, because it fails to acknowledge the image of God in whatever form it may be,” Senyonyi explained.

He told the students that the intellectual element in humans is the reason they are at the university and their duty is to sharpen it.

“The worst thing you can do is to send your intellect to sleep by engaging in acts that do not build it, like alcoholism,” he told the gathering that included freshmen, continuing students, deans of faculties and heads of various departments.

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The Bird’s-eye view: Greater good requires concerted efforts

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ALEX TAREMWA

Hanging around a representative sample of UCU staff has revealed two perception extremes. There is a section that is passionate about the university and work wholeheartedly every day to see it prosper.

There is also another section whose association with the university is simply an opportunity to get paid at the end of the month.Sadly, the latter are the majority.

To illustrate this, let us refer to the results of the survey conducted by the Career Development and Placement office among 500 new students, representing a quarter of the registered students.

When asked about how they got to know about UCU, 11.2 percent credited career outreaches, 11.4 per cent the press, 22.2 per cent through students and staff of UCU and 55.2 per cent had heard of UCU through friends and relatives who have no history with the university.

From the above statistics, one would wonder how external forces (friends and relatives) can account for the biggest percentage of information to new students, more than staff and students who arguably have a better understanding of the university within which they work and study.

Secondly, how come the media contributes less numbers despite the university’s continued investment in commercial advertisement over the years? And how can these millions of shillings be redirected for better output?

An overriding reaction may be that the university has not invested a lot in its students and staff to partake of the marketing processes. In so doing, the students and staff see marketing as the sole responsibility of the Marketing, Communications and Public Relations offices.

When crisis hits, it becomes easier for a student or staff member to press their ‘ignore’ button and pass on responsibility for cleaning up the mess to the above mentioned offices.

In the short term, this “as long as I get paid attitude” can be sustained but as the effects sink in, especially in the light of dwindling student numbers, is this attitude tenable?

Is it not time for the university administration to adopt an intra-marketing approach through which it can motivate its major stakeholders: students and staff, to promote and defend its image as people who have something to lose?

What if part of what is invested in the newspapers and TV commercials was to be redirected into making students and staff feel significantly involved in the making of university policies so that when the need to discuss them arises, they do not begin pointing fingers elsewhere?

Superimposing policies and resolutions hatched in exclusive boardrooms is what has caused students and staff to feel alienated in policy formulation and implementation. Instead of being contributors, the stakeholders are merely shock absorbers of the outcomes.

If I did not know any better, I would say that this is what caused the strike that resulted in the expulsion of some students last semester. It did not have to get to that had the students been involved in the dialogue process and reasons for the increment explained.

The bigger picture requires a combined effort of students and staff to sail the university to greater heights in their respective capacities. This, however, has to be done in unison, not discord.

Alex is the Managing Editor of The Transparent Magazine, formerly The Standard’s Features Editor.

Two arrested for defrauding students

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From left: Herman Okia and Andrew Geoffrey Lwanga (Photos by Bright Niwaha)

By Agatha Muhaise

Two men were arrested on September 26 by the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Police for allegedly collecting money from students promising to assist them clear their retakes.

The two, Andrew Geoffrey Lwanga, a cleaner at Maybach Bar and Restaurant, and Herman Okia, a former Information Technology student of UCU and manager of Maybach Bar and Restaurant, were posing as university staff.

They convinced up to four desperate students that they had a way of enabling them clear their retakes and be able to graduate in October.

According to the police, the students were being asked to pay Shs400,000 per retake. Lwanga was picked up from Satellite Beach, after Mr Herman Mukiibi, a lecturer in Foundation Studies, tipped off the police about the scam.

Earlier, Mr Mukiibi had been informed of the conmen’s activities by a friend of one of the students who fell victim to the scam.Later the police also picked up Herman Okia from his work place.

Victims speak out

Cynthia Tracy Umahoro, a Mass Communication student at UCU, reported that on September 20, she was called by a man who identified himself as Andrew Lwanga. The caller claimed to work with the Information Technology department of UCU, and he had details about the student’s performance.

“He promised to make the retakes go away if I was willing to pay Shs400,000 for each paper. We agreed to meet at Star Gardens for further discussions and payment,” Umahoro said.

“I went with a friend, Lillian Rukundo, also a student of Mass Communication, for the meeting. My friend had three retakes and figured she could also use Lwanga’s ‘magic’ services.”

“Lwanga had a list of names of students with retakes, and their contacts. This

convinced us and we were willing to pay a down payment for the process to begin.”

She adds that she sent Shs250,000 to Lwanga, and Lillian Rukundo agreed to pay Shs200,000 as advance payment for the services.

Hope Atwine, also a student of Mass Communication at UCU, claims that she was called by Lwanga with the offer to make the retakes go away.

“With a total of three retakes, I had to raise Shs1.2 million, but that is a lot of money. So I negotiated with Lwanga. He reduced the charges and I gave him an advance of Shs50,000. I handed over the money during a meeting at Satellite Beach, Mukono,” Atwine said.

She adds that in subsequent days she also received nagging calls from Lwanga, asking for the balance of the fees.

Confessions

When Lwanga was interrogated by Mr John Bahemuka Toa, the UCU legal officer, and Mr Charles Nahamya, the head of security at UCU, he said that the mastermind of the operation was his manager, Herman Okia.

Okia took advantage of the information that his friend (Cynthia Tracy Umahoro) had narrated to him about his retakes. He then told me that Umahoro would call me soon, and we would get money out of the scam.

“I met with all the victims, received money from them and shared it with Okia,” he said.

Lwanga added that the scam went bad for them when one Scovia Auma called him and said she was willing to pay Shs1 million for the same services.

“At our meeting at Satellite, Auma came with a male friend who kept on asking questions about the process, which I could not answer. That is when another man was called in and I was arrested,” Lwanga said.

Herman Okia, however, tells a contradicting tale. “I told Lwanga about a girl I met at a party last year, who has retakes and may drop out of school. I did not con anyone although I received some of the money that Lwanga got out of this deal,” he said.

Bahemuka Toa said there are clear outlined procedures on how to deal with such situations. “There are no short-cuts whatsoever. We are here to protect the academic quality of the university and anyone who compromises that will face the full extent of the law.”

By press time, efforts by The Standard to reach Mr Mukiibi, who filed the case with police under file number SD12/26/09/2016, were futile.

The accused have since been released on police bond, after they made a written agreement promising to pay back the money to the defrauded students soon.

‘My success is a testimony’- Kagimba

 

martha-kkBY BRIGHT NIWAHA AND ELIZABETH AMONGIN

Videos of a young woman mimicking singers have, for the last three months, been making the rounds on social media sites. The author and protagonist, Martha Kagimba, is a photographer and comedienne who gained popularity in August this year when a video of her testifying about being nearly knocked by her dream car (the Range Rover) was posted on Facebook.

She has since posted videos of her mimicking Irene Ntale and Sheebah Karungi who are both Ugandan musicians. The 21-year-old has completed her Mass Communication degree at Uganda Christian University, talked to The Standard. “I had no idea that the videos would receive attention from various organisations like the Bill Gates Foundation, musicians and comedians like Anne Kansiime.

I shot the (Range Rover) video for my brother, and I did not initially want to post it on social media. But surprisingly, I woke up the following day to be told that the video had many views,” Kagimba said. That and other videos have brought Kagimba so much fame that she is currently an ambassador of the ‘Fly’ campaign under the Bill Gates Foundation.

The campaign is aimed at showing teenagers that one can achieve one’s goals by pursuing one’s talents. “When one of the campaign’s bosses contacted me about being their ambassador, I hesitated because I was scared that I could not manage the task but after a lot of convincing I accepted the deal.”

Early life

Kagimba was born in Nairobi and raised in Nakasero, Kampala. Born to Margaret and Jessy Kagimba, she is the lastborn of four children. She went to Kabojja Junior School, St Mary’s College Namagunga School, and Kabojja International School before joining Uganda Christian University to pursue a degree in Mass Communication.

Passion for photography

On her 18th birthday, Kagimba’s elder sister asked her what she wanted as a birthday present. “I wanted a phone tablet that could take pictures but my sister suggested that I get a professional camera. She bought me a camera and that was the beginning of my work in photography. I also studied in Haiti for my Senior Six and photography was among the extra activities we would do,” she explains.

Kagimba had no plans of taking photography more seriously though, and she did not enjoy her first internship duties at The New Vision as a photographer. “I preferred artistic photography than journalism photography whose pictures are about news events.”

“When I went for internship at the World Vision, I had the opportunity to take pictures for the organisation. This prompted some of my relatives to encourage me to do photography on a professional level. That is how Martha Kay Photography was born,” she said.

“At the World Vision’s public relations department, I took pictures out of love, not as a source of income. People begun asking me if I would cover their ceremonies like, graduation ceremonies, weddings and this is how it started as business,” Kagimba adds.

Pursuing excellence

Kagimba narrates that while in O-level, she was a poor academic performer and this demoralised her. She painfully recalls that she was always among the last people in her class. In her family, she was looked at as a failure. “My brothers and sisters were always performing well. I had the worst grades, some aunties of mine even used to laugh at my mother,” she says.

“One time my mother was called to the headmistress’ office due to my poor academic performance. She asked me, “Do you think I am going to take care of you for the rest of your life?’ I went back to the dormitory and cried. I felt like a failure, and I was depressed.”

She says that during this period of depression and rejection, she turned to God and read many inspirational books, which helped her to deal with the depression. “I used to read the Bible and other inspirational books.

By the time I came back to Uganda to pursue a degree in Mass Communication, I loved God more than anything that I even forfeited the freshers’ ball for overnight prayers,” she said. Kagimba adds that when she joined the university she still had the fear for failure, but prayers and obedience to God kept her focused.

When the first coursework assignment was returned and the lecturer asked who Martha Kagimba was, she got scared. “I thought that I was the last again, but the lecturer insisted and I raised my hand. He then said my work was the best. This changed my perspective about everything,” Kagimba narrates.

“Recently I was told that I attained a first- class degree but I did not believe it until I saw the results. This is a testimony – God is proving something!” she said.

Mentor and role models

“I have mentors in photography and I continue to learn a lot from them. These include Edgar Arinaitwe, the director of Events Guru Photography; and Lovington Kambugu of Blush Media.”

“When I started the photography firm, I knew how to take photos in a professional way because of the lessons I learnt from them,” she said, adding that she looks up to Dr Monica Chibita, the head of the Mass Communication department and Ben Kiruthi, a Kenyan photographer.

“My future plans include opening up a photo studio next year, as well as starting up an events management company,” she concludes.

Was culling monkeys in the university a necessary evil?

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Monkeys play on the fence at one of the residences in the university. (Photos by Doreen Kajeru)

BY DOREEN KAJERU

In email was sent to the Uganda Christian University (UCU) community, informing them that a monkey culling exercise would carried out, last month.

The university has for a very long time harboured the monkeys, thanks to the many trees on the campus. The animals were often seen jumping onto and out of trees, running through the compounds and gardens, eating fruits and playing with people, especially children.

As the monkey population increased, however, their presence became both a source of joy and amazement for some and a distraction and cause of discomfort for others.

According to the Deputy Vice Chancellor External Relations, Mr David Mugawe, the Facilities and Capital Projects team have for over a year received complaints and concerns from the community regarding the increasing number of monkeys on campus, and their related risks.

“The pointed-out incidences included aggressive tendencies of chasing ladies and children,” he said.

“The monkeys would pluck and bite some fruits and later drop them. The children were seen picking up these fruits and eating them. This poses a risk of transmitting some diseases through sharing fruits with the monkeys.”

He added that while sharing garden food with the monkeys is fine, the animals were destructive to crops, leading to harvest loss.

When the pest control office of Mukono District was consulted, they confirmed that monkeys were one of the vermin under their jurisdiction to control.

“Subsequently, the district vermin control officer visited the campus and studied the behaviour and movement patterns of the monkeys. He recommended that the population of the monkeys should be controlled,” Mr Mugawe said.

Health and safety committee

The health and safety committee of UCU said that they are mindful the safety and wellness of the community.

“The presence of monkeys in such a big population of people caused a threat. It was a necessary exercise for the safety and wellbeing of the community,” said Dr Edward Mukooza, the chairperson of the committee.

“The Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA)was contacted years ago to fetch the monkeys but all efforts were futile. Due to the fact that there are no predators in the area, their multiplication

effect is uninterrupted. Therefore,thecommittee consulted the pest control office of Mukono District, which classified and confirmed monkeys as pests in the community that had to be controlled.”

Dr Mukooza added that the pest control office has the right technical people qualified to do the job, mindful of the fact that there are people living in the community.

“The monkeys were in their hundreds, a cause for worry! We did not cull them out of irresponsibility or bad intentions but rather out of concern for public health.

“Monkeys have been associated with the spread of zoonotic diseases like rabies. So, we thought it smarter to be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.

He added that two families on campus had reported to the committee about experiences of aggressiveness of monkeys towards children and there was a concern that it could get worse and thus needed action.

“There were over 100 monkeys here. I thus advise the community to keep a distance from them because if any zoonotic epidemic hits us through these animals, many people would be affected.

“As a committee, we continue to follow up the UWA to ensure that the monkeys are transferred because they are not domestic animals and may harm the community,” he concluded.

Is independent Uganda a case of failed patriotism?

 

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By Rev Samson Maliisa

On October 9, 2016, as a nation we shall celebrate our 54th year of independence. In his speech on Independence Day in 1962, the then first Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr Milton Obote, echoed the hopes and aspirations of Ugandans, proclaiming an era of peace, prosperity and ever-growing national strength.

The events that unfolded soon after and years later, however, make one wonder whether the Prime Minister’s speech was not simply an empty great speech by a great orator. Soon the new nation spiralled into chaos, crises and a horrific reign of terror under Idi Amin. These problems, in my opinion, were rooted in the absence of the spirit of patriotism in post-independent Uganda.

Perhaps the first indicator of the absence of patriotism was the formation of the Kabaka Yekka party. This political outfit was formed with the sole purpose of fronting the interests of Buganda Kingdom, the most powerful part of Uganda then.

They formed an alliance with Milton Obote’s UPC on the condition that the interests of Buganda would be preserved.

However, this was at the expense of the new Uganda. For this unholy, unpatriotic alliance eventually gave Obote a comfortable lead against the Democratic Party, which had enjoyed majority representation in the pre-independence parliament, making Obote the

first Prime Minister of Uganda.

While Buganda Kingdom would do anything to protect its interests against the rest of the country, later events proved that the Obote administration would soon grow wary of Buganda’s demands. It was the failure to heed Buganda’s demands that orchestrated events which led to the Mengo Crisis in 1966.

What followed was the Pigeon Hole Constitution, outlawing the special status of Buganda and abolishing kingdoms. This made Obote President with full executive powers, and led to Kabaka Muteesa II fleeing to exile on 24 May 1966.

The flip side of the Mengo Crisis is that it was a result of Obote’s resolve to stay in power. This was after a vote of no confidence in him while he was in northern Uganda because of his involvement in a gold corruption scandal in the Congo together with his army protégé Idi Amin Dada.

By this time, Obote had become the darling of Uganda’s military forces. After an attempted coup in 1965, when the military demanded swifter promotions and higher pay, Obote elected to shift his commitment from Buganda Kingdom to the self-centred army.

This self-preservation, with little regard for the citizenry as expressed in the 1962 Constitution, caused the ease with which Obote overthrew the 1962 Constitution, proclaiming himself President.

Suffice to say that with the support of the army, Obote’s confidence was strengthened, unveiling a new kind of leader, characterised by tribalism, an unforgiving spirit, corruption, and insensitivity. This ushered in a dictatorial regime, characterised by repression. All other political parties were banned, leaving only UPC.

 

On January 25, 1971, while Obote was out of the country in a Commonwealth Summit in Singapore, Uganda’s army under Amin ousted him from the presidency.

Obote fled to Tanzania, and Amin, for eight years, instituted a bloody regime of terror and repression which resounded throughout the world, leaving immense negative consequences with which Uganda is still grappling to undo to this day, 37 years later.

Although it is not possible to assess each and every event that unfolded after Uganda became independent, we can conclude that the newly born Uganda was handed over to men without patriotic dedication.

Therefore, recalling our history which has been characterised by political and constitutional instability, I appeal to fellow Ugandans and friends of Uganda, to re-ignite the long-suppressed patriotic spirit and love for our nation. Let us all do the best in our power to build a great future for this nation, the Pearl of Africa, as we celebrate our 54th independence anniversary.

The writer is an Assistant Chaplain UgandaChristianUniversity, Mukono.

Pick up your call – Mwangi

BY BRIGHT NIWAHA

“All of us have a call that God has given to us, to live our lives in glory and honour to him. This happens only by accepting Jesus Christ,” said Pastor Mwangi Muthui, the Youth Pastor of Nairobi Baptist Church, on September 25, while preaching in Nkoyoyo Hall.

He added that most of us have reached a point in our lives where we have heard the message of the gospel and we know that Jesus Christ came and died that we may be saved but the question is: how have we responded to that call?

Addressing the congregation during the launch of the Advent Semester Mission Week, Pastor Mwangi added that Christians have been called upon to pick up their call from God.

“Many Christians have concentrated on values such as giving back to the needy, observance of the law and fulfilling other church norms, thus neglecting their call while on earth, which should not be the case,” he said.

“The appropriate response is found in Acts 2:36–38. So we should all ‘repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ … for the forgiveness of sins,” Pastor Mwangi said.

Another guest speaker, Pastor Calisto Odede, expressed his fear about the current generation that is living in a hurting world where people are messed up through sexual immorality.

“The greatest need of the hour is individuals, young women and men, whose hearts

are revived through having a connection with God,” Odede said.

The University Chaplain, Dr Rebecca Nyegenye, said that Mission Week is held to give an opportunity to those who have not yet encountered Christ, and others who have never come to church, to share his love.

“It is such a joy to be here for this Mission Week. It is a challenge for every one of us to be evangelists. If you are a believer, I encourage you to look out for someone who does not know Christ and share the gospel with them this week,” Nyegenye said.

Other speakers included Rev Esmond Serunjoji, Dr Alfred Olwa and Rev David Kaggwa.

The week runs from September 25 to October 2 under the theme, “Plough your fallow ground.” There will also be praise and worship from various choirs, and a music extravaganza.