EDUCATION and sports minister Namirembe Bitamazire has defended her long professional and political career and vowed not to quit.
â€œMany people wonder why I have not retired. I have a vision to see that all children attain education. Thatâ€™s my vision. And when you have a vision you donâ€™t quit,â€ Bitamazire said.
She was on Saturday addressing parents, staff and students of Seeta High School in Goma sub-county in Mukono district at the climax of the schoolâ€™s inter-class music, dance and drama competitions.
The ministerâ€™s explanation was in response to the school head teacher, Davis Kafumbeâ€™s observation that Bitamazire visited his former school St. Joseph SS Naggalama in 1989 as education minister when he was in Senior One.
â€œI wanted to witness all children getting the gift of education. Now my vision is to see that they get better education. I want to leave my position when this happens,â€ she said.
Bitamazire, who will be 68 years next month, has served as education minister for 12 years.
A professional teacher, the minister has served in various government posts.
In 1971 she was head teacher of Tororo Girls. In 1974 she was appointed senior education officer and in 1979 she was minister of education.
In 1982 Bitamazire became deputy chairperson of the Teaching Service Commission. She has been education minister since 1996.
Bitamazire hailed Seeta High School for choosing patriotism to be the theme for their music competitions, saying it was a key ingredient to national development.
President Yoweri Museveni was recently teaching teachers the essence of patriotism.
The President came under incessant attacks from the opposition, who said he was using patriotism as a platform to strengthen his NRM party and grip on power.
But Bitamazire hit back at the critics, saying: â€œAll Ugandans have a duty to love and be proud of their country.â€
Citing her recent tour of Malaysia, Bitamazire said patriotism was a strong force in the development of the Asian country.
â€œI will report to the President that Seeta High School has led and other schools will follow,â€ she added.
Bitamazire noted that teaching patriotism delayed because of the history of education which colonialists skewed to serve their interests.
She observed that at its introduction, education was meant to only enable Ugandans read the Bible.
The Government, she said, was researching how to make education more relevant to the nationâ€™s needs.
Bitamazire told teachers to be proud of serving at a time when education was on high demand.
â€œStop saying, twakoowa (we are fed up). If you are tired resign and go do something else. The care free attitude of â€˜after all my pay cheque will come at the end of the monthâ€™ must stop.â€
She also asked teachers to nurture, guide and counsel students who she described as â€œlive bullets with a whole life ahead of themâ€.
Bitamazire rapped politicians who at amassing wealth.
â€œYou canâ€™t thrive on politics. You must have a profession. When something (reshuffle) happens I will go back and teach,â€ she said.
I'm still around â€“ Minister Bitamazire