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Being smart is different from being smart

By Admin

Added 17th January 2020 02:32 PM

All thoughts down this road clearly lead to frustration, but of a useful kind.

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All thoughts down this road clearly lead to frustration, but of a useful kind.

By Simon Kaheru

Over the last week or so we have nationally appreciated the fact that being smart is very different from being smart.

The 'bigger' story proving this, in a sensational measure, was of the Imam who discovered after a two-week matrimonial journey that his wife was actually a man instead of a woman.

Amazing as it sounded, the story was accompanied by a photograph of the happy, smiling groom with his veiled bride on his arm.

The other story about smartness came from Uganda's highest institution of learning - Makerere University - where the celebration of the academic achievements of this year's cohorts was hit by a crisis.

They didn't have clothing for the event. Put more accurately, the graduands probably owned various items of personal clothing but there were not enough graduation gowns to cover them all.

The two stories felt the same for some reasons but were quite different. Their similarity revolved round the manner in which we go wrong focusing on external appearance rather than content.

Had our sad Imam, for instance, spent some time even just speaking to his dearly beloved bride he might have noticed things like an Adam's Apple that would have raised questions in his mind.

He also must be wondering to himself about the family his bride hailed from - what kind of people were these who could engage in such deceit? They dressed the man up as a woman, conducted ceremonies and allowed him to take the fellow all the way to his home?!

In the case of Makerere, the University focusing on gowns should make prospecting employers think hard about not being like the Imam. If you have ever hired a person against certain credentials and then regretted it a few weeks into signing the contract, you will know the feeling.

That's why the University should be making fewer headlines about the gowns and more about the quality of the students meant to be wearing them.

Imagine if we spent the week reading and hearing about the innovations those students came up with during their years of studying at Makerere, by way of coursework projects?

If the University published the most scintillating essays written by their graduating students rather than the missives between themselves and the supplier of the clothing covering said students, perhaps the value would be much higher to all of us.

Speaking of the supplier and the process, again one realises that smartness related to clothing is very, very different from that of the brain.

Honestly, how does the University not realise that as the pinnacle of various fields of education it should present the very best of everything? Do they not have academic departments teaching Procurement, Law, Design and Entrepreneurship?

Shouldn't the very students graduating and needing to buy gowns be doing all that work as part of their own learning practice while earning money?

All thoughts down this road clearly lead to frustration, but of a useful kind. So continue that discussion, people, while we turn to the Government at large.

See, there is this law out there regarding public procurement and local content and it is clearly written out in Section 3. of the Public Procurement Disposal Authority Local Content Guidelines.

The definitions of a local provider are also quite clear and, in the case of textiles, the guidelines state that a supplier eligible in this category should have manufacturing premises in Uganda, use locally grown cotton, and have the relevant certification from the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.

Nauseating as the story about this was, one couldn't help reading bits of it and realising that there is a good case here for the Uganda Police to get involved and teach somebody a serious lesson here.

And the culprits should be put in the same jail cell as the Imam's wife. 

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