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.

Meet Muhumuza, UCU’s Music Director

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Peter Muhumuza plays the piano.

 BY DOREEN KAJERU

Since childhood, he has been passionate about music, courtesy of his mother, who was a music teacher in the late 1970s at Gayaza High School. He got training especially with the piano since he was three years old.

Driven by passion and talent, Peter Muhumuza grew to love music, after starting to perform at a very tender age. He is now the UCU music Director since 2014.

Born in 1979, Muhumuza is the last in a family of five children. Raised by a single mother, he had a life subjected to reality and serious goals.

He describes his stay at UCU as a blessing. “It’s been an interesting journey. I have run into a number of challenges but I have also run into a couple of opportunities,” he says.

Working with the youth has been his passion too. This is why he says that he finds it so easy and interesting to train and mould them musically. The motivation of this is his willingness and zeal to share the talent God gave him. He says working with the youth has got challenges, especially with their commitment, but also knowing that they shape the future, keeps him enthusiastic about his work.

Before UCU, Muhumuza led, trained and taught the choir at All Saints Cathedral where he ministered since childhood. For

10 years, he worked with Watoto Child Care Ministries. He later worked within the Anglican Church, specifically the Parliament Chaplaincy as the music instructor.

Muhumuza also performs music and instrumental pieces, produces, records, trains people on song writing and composition, does vocal coaching and instrument training.

“When training, you have to look out for the specific genre someone is able to perfectly bring out,” he says. Being a music director, he likes almost all genres but admits that his best is R‘n’B, although he also has a liking for jazz. He has performed locally and internationally.

Muhumuza says he has travelled almost in all states of the world doing different things musically.

Training at UCU is done with students, although, belonging to a choir is a prerequisite for this. This is done to make sure that ministry is strongly built on capable and flexible people. People outside any ministry, including interested staff, pay a fee of Shs50,000 for private coaching.

Muhumuza is fostered by his talent and a great portion of school. He has got a certificate in piano from Kampala Music School. He also says that the experience and perfection comes with practice and the fact that he grew up doing

music. Besides that, he attributes his success to

the exposure he got

on his international 10-year job with Watoto Child Care Ministries, where he was required to travel in different countries, doing different musical assignments.

Muhumuza’s father was murdered during the Amin era in 1979. He was raised at Namirembe Guest House.

With one daughter, Praise, Muhumuza admits he has lived a successful life despite the challenges while growing up.

To the talented people out there, he says that God has entrusted us with His talents. We thus have to put these to use. “The more we put our talents to use, the more God expands the opportunities we encounter in life. I can’t stop to count how many blessings I have got. I didn’t know I would ever step foot in the White House or even Buckingham Palace,” he says.

Muhumuza went to Nakasero Primary School and because of his passion for music, he joined Makerere College for his O-level. For A-level, he went to Green Hill Academy and later joined UCU in 2005 for a Worship Arts course which was based on studying music with great biblical teaching. “We had trainers from the USA, UK and New Zealand,” he recalls.

He says that if any chance came along to advance his music, he would grab it because he is not yet at the top of his satisfaction.