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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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.

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.

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.

Career outreach programme bears fruit

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How did you get to know about Uganda Christian University? (Graph by Career Development and Placement office)

BY AGATHA MUHAISE

Eleven percent of the first-year students that joined the university this semester found out about it through the career outreach programmes, a survey carried out by the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Career Development and Placement office at the main campus, Mukono, has said.

The career development office has been conducting outreaches in secondary schools countrywide since 2014. Although none was conducted in 2015, they resumed in 2016 between March and August. The survey was done to find out the impact of the programme.

“From a sample size of 500 first-year students who were asked a series of questions including howtheyfoundoutabout UCU, it shows that the outreaches impacted 56 of the 500 test subjects to come to UCU,” reads the report from the Career Development and Placement Officer, Connie Musisi, in part.

“Career outreach and exhibitions came in fourth place to other sources like friends and relatives, students and staff of UCU; and the media (radio, television and newspapers) respectively,” the survey says.

Ms Musisi informed The Standard that the outreach was a success.

“Given that the careers office has been in place for three years and we have done only two outreaches, the fact that we captured that many students is a bigsuccess for us,” she said.

Mr Alex Taremwa, one ofthecontributorsto the university outreach programme, said that the programme is aimed at improving the corporate social responsibility endeavours of the institution by extending career guidance to students in upper level secondary schools.

“The 2016 outreach ran under the theme ‘Making Hostilic Career Choices’ in different districts around Uganda such as Arua, Koboko, Bushenyi, Mbarara,Kabale,Gulu, Oyam, Lira, Mbale, Kapchwora, among others,” Taremwa said.

Some of the topics covered included drug abuse, sex education, health and hygiene, career development and academics. The Standard has learnt will be launched next topics than the previous that the next session of year. This will be one, in a bid to reach more the outreach programme packaged with more students countrywide.

Ssenkumba is new boss of Law Society at UCU

BY NICHOLAS OPOLOT

In what seemed like a heavenly sigh of relief, the UCU Law Society that has been without its top leadership finally has elected a president, in the gallant name of Caesar Ssenkumba.

Ssenkumba is a fourth year LLB student and a remarkable tennis player. Facing off with Doreen Nyangoma Kagambe, Ssenkumba won with 163 votes against Nyangoma’s 158.

Judging by the voter demographic,the by-election proved to be a tough and cut-throat competition. Surprisingly, it also illustrated so much peacefulness as the voters cast their ballots.

In contrast with the 2015 post-guild elections which were marred with irregularities, chaos and empty blatant accusations.

This aftermath hasn’t worn out the scars that cast the UCU Electoral Commission’s ability and credibility to organise a peaceful election.

This by-election is a sincere attempt of healing old wounds, differences and most importantly one that forges a way forward for UCU’s political

landscape vis-à-vis socio- economic transformation.

The portrayal of peace and tolerance implies that the youth in UCU are finally starting to embrace the principles of good democratic governance. Asked about his perspective of the by- election, Ssenkumba simply retorted that “God has taken his pick” in his typical calm and composed demeanour.

Amidst all the pompous ululation and jubilation that congratulated him, Ssenkumba, on the other hand takes an office that needs restructuring policy and at most dedication. Doreen Nyangoma humblyconcededdefeat as she said, “Thank you all for the support.

Things didn’t go well but the Lord has a plan. Thank you and God bless you.” Now this is very touching, given that Nyangoma put up a formidable fight as well. Nyangoma represents an exceptional class of women who are willing to challenge the status quo to compete in a male-dominated field.

This act of bravery is quite admirable and for that I feel Nyangoma doesn’t go home a loser but one with a bird in the hand. She has won the hearts of faithfuls who still believe in her to serve in a position that is different. Thank you, Nyangoma for trying your best! Congratulations to Ssenkumba as well!

Nonetheless, in a war there’s always a victor and a loser. However, I urge everyone to accept all the circumstances and strive for harmony and prosperity.

Charity run fails to impress

dsc_0272-1BY BRIGHT NIWAHA

The first ever Rotaract charity run that took place on September 24 was characterised by a low turn-out of participants. Moreover, the one kilometre run began later than planned with less than 30 people.

However, a number of fun activities were later conducted. These included games like chair- dancing, kwepena, tennis, volleyball, bottle-filling, relays, among others. The run, organized by the Uganda Christian University Mukono Rotaract Club and Play- for-Charity, was held at the university sportsground to fundraise and reach out to the underprivileged.

According to the President of the Rotaract Club of Mukono, Mr Joachim Mumbere, the move had a humble beginning since it was the first of its kind by the UCU Rotaract Club. “The run was organised to help the underprivileged, specifically the women prisoners in Kauga Prisons, and the Little Voices Africa Orphanage in Mayuge District.

The cash collected from the run will be used to these institutions to enable them get basic needs, education requirements and improve their health facilities,” he said. The chief runner, Ms Cynthia Asiimwe, a Rotarian in Mukono, says that she is happy that students can think about helping the community they live in.

“Do not give up because of the low turnout. This is just the beginning,” she says.

One of the participants and UCU alumnus, Tony Okello, though happy to have run for a cause, was not quite pleased about the organisation of the event.

“I am however disappointed with the poor mobilization. More people should have been convinced, vigorously, to be part of the event and to also give. Being the centre of excellence in the heart of Africa, UCU organised events should be on point!” he said.

He added: “Many entities, including the bank I work with, are always happy to join such events because they are included in their goals and strategies. They would be glad to engage in such social responsibility activities.” Shallon Manake, a student, said the university administration should have impacted much in organising the run since it is such activities that market the name of the institution.