King Ceasor Mulenga leading way to African renaissance

May 22, 2024

King Ceasor Mulenga, to be classified as a visionary may be an understatement. He has crafted and built a university from scratch to a recognised institution, a clear and an unprecedented first one in the annals of institution building.

Dr. John W Bahana (PHD)

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By Dr. John W Bahana (PHD)

As I write this piece, my mind keeps reminding me of how some individual Africans can make singular stellar contributions to the success of our continent and help pull it out of the quagmire that, in no doubt to me, Europeans plugged us in and continue with their determination to hold us underdeveloped.

King Ceasor Mulenga, the founder of King Ceasor University, the subject of my article, is in the mould of Africans that keep leading the way to African renaissance. King Ceasor Mulenga reminds me of my key mentor, late Professor Thomas Risley Odhiambo of Kenya who cut his teeth at Makerere University and Kawanda Research Station.

Professor Odhiambo proceeded to build a world-renowned research centre, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) from a motor vehicle garage to a world top research centre that has seen great innovations in insect science and training of hundreds of insect scientists across the continent. I am a product of ICIPE and so are many other Ugandans.

King Ceasor Mulenga, to be classified as a visionary may be an understatement. He has crafted and built a university from scratch to a universally recognised institution, a clear and an unprecedented first one in the annals of institution building in Uganda.

Not even our continent’s pride, Makerere University, with state financing and other support from colonial times to independence took such a giant step in such a short time.

Makerere University, went through stages of technical school to technical college to university college and finally to a fully-fledged university, a process that took almost 50 years.

A bit of background: In 1993, the government of Uganda took a drastic and highly significant decision to liberalise the education sector.

The action meant moving away from the colonial administration policy in which government was solely responsible for running and managing education at all levels from primary to university, save for countable ones that were supported by the major religions.

Since that time, thousands of schools and institutions have been set up by private investors. The impact has been far reaching, not only in numbers but more significantly in quality. In the secondary sub-sector today, the number of private schools stands at more than 4,000, which is more than double the number of government-funded schools.

According to the Ministry of Education available data, Uganda has about 60 universities. Of these, 40 are privately owned, with 12 being public universities, five are military universities and three of these are regarded as degree-awarding institutions, but not universities.

If you thought its only universities which award degrees, think again.

According to Prof. Nawangwe, the vice-chancellor of the centuries-old Makerere University, more than half of these “do not qualify to be called universities. He says that more than half have a population of less than one thousand, and as a qualification, are not universities, asserting that there are about 20 real universities with a combined student population of about 100,000. Hence, Prof. Nawangwe supports the idea of more universities to be established in Uganda that would cater for the rapidly growing national population. He has a point.

What are the top private universities in Uganda? The uniRank, which was established in 2005 is a leading international higher education portal and search engine that features reviews and rankings of over 14 000 institutions of higher learning worldwide.

This uniRank claims to publish valid, unbiased and non-influence able web metrics that is provided by independent web intelligence sources and not data submitted by the universities themselves. Thus, uniRank uses the selection criteria:

Being chartered, licensed or accredited by the National Council for Higher Education.

  • Offering at least three-year bachelors’ degrees or postgraduate masters’ or doctoral degrees.
  • Delivering courses predominantly in a traditional, non-distance education format.

Through the above criteria, King Ceasor University is placed at number 30 from a total listing of 45 universities, with 15 more that are not listed by unRank. For a university that has just hit the “teens”, this is commendable and good cause for celebration.


Established in 2011, King Ceasor University is a private higher education institution that is located on Bunga Hill, in Makindye division of Kampala city.

Officially recognised by the National Council for Higher Education of Uganda, King Ceasor University (KCU) offers courses and programmes leading to recognised higher education degrees such as bachelors’ degrees in several areas of study.

At last month’s graduation ceremony, to which the writer was invited, I learnt a lot about this new university kid on the block that revealed the top-notch Ugandans at various levels of the university management that included very well qualified and experienced academics, many of whom have taught at older reputable universities including Makerere.

I learnt that the University Council and the board of trustees have notable personalities, including ministers Dr Chris Baryomunsi, Okello Oryem and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa.

Remarkable too was the long list of graduates that received their degrees in nursing science, medicine, business administration, computing and engineering. I could not, but also notice that among graduates in medicine and surgery were nationals of India, Kenya, Nigeria South Sudan and Tanzania. That such a young university has garnered the capacity to attract international academic acclaim is a tribute to the founder. But, tribute also needs to be underscored for the National Council for Higher Education for its rigorous checks on standards.

Finally, the innovations at the King Ceasor University cannot, but stop amazing and encouraging. On the springboard is a plant-based research and innovation, that I would call botanicals.

The world pharmaceutical industry that is dominated by the likes of Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and others I hope the university or anyone involved in plant-based pharmaceutical research understands the deeply entrenched western world empire that fights tooth and nail any possible competitor from the third world, their biggest market.

Finally, in the words of the vice-chancellor, Dr Charity Basaza Mulenga, the graduates are the architects of their own future. They must dream big. Work hard and not lose the potential that lies ahead along their paths. Dream big, like the founder of King Ceasor University. Go ahead and ignite the future.

The writer is a retired research scientist and author

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