By Titus Kakembo
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has said the late Muammar Gaddafi and John Garang are among the great statesmen of the African continent.
The list also comprised of Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel, Kwame Nkurumah and Emperor Haile Selassie.
“These are men who selflessly made great contributions to Africa in one way or another,” asserted Museveni in a speech delivered by minister Ephraim Kamuntu while officiating 50 years of the East African University June 29.
“They dreaded colonialism and dreamed of an African union.”
“That is why I chose to study in Dar es Salaam. So that I would learn more from Nyerere, who was of the view that the continent was colonized because it was, then, split into tribal chiefdoms.” Adding that, “We are lucky not to have been exterminated like the Red Indians in USA and the Aborigins of Australia.”
To avoid neo-colonialism Museveni advocated for trade and political blocks among the 54 countries on the African continent.
The most celebrated author in East Africa, Ngugi wa Thiongo did not spare colonialists and post independence governments the barbs.
“When asked where I studied, people expected Oxford or Havard University,” lamented Ngugi. “They are of a mindset that every good thing comes from there. I surprise them when I say I was educated in Makerere University Kampala.”
Ngugi said he has fond memories of Makerere which has produced presidents, authors, doctors, engineers and teachers who have been movers and shakers on the entire continent.
During the occasion a book authored by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Women’s Freedom, was launched. With a price tag of sh20,000, the proceeds will go towards scholarships for academically talented yet economically disadvantaged youth from East Africa studying in Makerere.
“Written way back in 1944 the literature ably addresses big issues affecting the welfare of women,” said Nyerere’s son Makongoro. “I guess if he wrote the same book today, great achievers like Margaret Thatcher and Liberian president Sirlif would have featured prominently.”
“The theme is globally cutting across human inequality, justice, ethnicity and most of all the freedom of women to soar higher,” asserted Makonogoro. “Uganda has done the region proud by having a lady, Rebecca Kadaga, as the speaker of parliament.”
Adding that, the onus is on all legislators to make the world a better place for the women.
“They should own land, inherit property and not forced into early marriage,” stressed Makongoro. “In some societies priority for education is given to the boy child while the girl does home chores. This must change.”
During the occasion, graced by grey haired Makerere alumni, a statue of Mwalimu Nyerere was unveiled before they were treated to a cocktail.