Distinguished gentlemen do not come easy; but you saw one when you looked at Prof. William Senteza Kajubi.
BY Stephen Ssenkaaba
Distinguished gentlemen do not come easy; but you saw one when you looked at Prof. William Senteza Kajubi. In Public, he turned out in a most respectable fashion; often clad in a wellplaced dark suit and dark rimmed glasses.
His grey hair reminded you of good old age wisdom. In more personal encounters, he often was collected. He spoke with serene, magisterial confi dence during telephone conversations, taking time to listen and going to any lengths to explain issues.
Unlike many people of his calibre, Kajubi never declined to respond to quick telephone interviews from journalists. And when you had asked all the questions and said thank you, he would gracefully say: “You are quite welcome”. Kajubi is
dead. But his legacy lives.
It is a legacy born of character, integrity and a long illustrious career in the education and public sectors. It started on a modest note at Kako Secondary school in Masaka where he was posted to teach in 1951. At about the same time, he met his wife Elsie Nabaloga.
The couple got married on May 3, 1952. Kajubi’s passion for education first surfaced when he urged the protectorate government to avail equal education opportunities at all levels for Ugandans.
This would later increase access to higher education in this country. In August 1953, he won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of Chicago in the USA. He was among the fi rst African benefi ciaries of this prestigious award.
He returned in 1955 to a teaching job at Kings College Buddo, where, as a geography teacher, he produced one of the best geography classes there. Kajubi went on to work in the education sector.
He lectured Geography at Makerere University before becoming the director of the National Institute of Education in Kyambogo in 1965. As Vice Chancellor at Makerere University from 1977 to 1979 he led the institution through diffi cult times.
During the 1979 war, he took great risk to protect students and staff as other people fl ed for dear life. Recalling the challenging times, Kajubi said: “They were fed very well and when the war ended, I felt like a war general.” He thereafter became a Professor for Higher Education at Makerere before becoming Principal of the Institute of Teacher Education, Kyambogo (ITEK) in 1986.
He later returned to Makerere University where he served as Vice Chancellor for the second time from 1990 to 1993. He left Makerere and joined Nkumba University where he served in the same role from 1994 until 1998.
Kajubi served on key commissions which shaped Uganda’s education policy He was on the Castle Education Commission of 1963 and headed the Education Review Commission (Kajubi Commission) of 1989, leading the way for the implementation of policies on funding for tertiary institutions, language policy among other key reforms.
His counsel was much sought after. “When I was Minister of Education, Prof Kajubi helped us to come up with important recommendations on vocationalising our education system, says Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi. His contribution is now beginning to bear fruit as Uganda prepares for a skills based education.
But Kajubi’s role was not confi ned to education alone. As Uganda prepared for independence, he headed the national symbols committee that scrutinised and approved the National Flag, Court of Arms and National Anthem for Uganda.
Politically, he started out in Ignatius Musaazi’s Uganda National Congress. He later became an ardent Democratic Party member. He also served as a representative on the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 constitution.
“He was a very good debater and an ardent advocate of federalism in the CA, recalls Prof Apolo Nsibambi. In 1996 he attempted to return to competitive Parliamentary politics when he contested for the Kyadondo North Seat.
Unfortunately he lost to the late Israeli Kibirige Sebunya. Throughout his career, Kajubi has been a shaper of destinies. As a teacher, he was passionate. Professor Nsibambi, one of his students at Kings College Budo describes him as a “very animated teacher whose lessons we enjoyed particularly because of the relevant local examples he used.”
As an administrator, he was exemplary and in the words of Prof Paul Mugambi “an inspirational and approachable man.” He was also a good father, blessed with three pairs of twins and a number of grandchildren.
A God-fearing man and a lover of his culture, Senteza Kajubi will go down the annals of our history as one of the most rounded individuals that this country has produced.
The life of Prof. Kajubi
- Born in 1926 in Kireku village, Singo to Yoweri Kajubi and Bulanina Namukomya.
- His father was a driver for the Public Works Department and Post O_ ce. His mother was a local entrepreneur who owned a retail shop, knitting and baking businesses.
- He attended Mackay Primary School Nateete, Mengo Junior Secondary School and Kings College Budo.
- He pursued undergraduate studies at Makerere University and later the University of Chicago in the USA
- He was married to the late Elsie Nabaloga Kajubi and had six children and a couple of grandchildren
Prof. Kajubi: The dignified Professional