Makerere University Chancellor Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and Uganda PM Amama Mbabazi mingling. PHOTO/Kennedy Oryema
By Anne Mugisa and Innocent Anguyo
Makerere University celebrated its 90 years of existence on Saturday by honouring former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and the composer of the university’s anthem, Grace Wilson Mutekanga Igaga.
Kibaki received a medal of honour while Mutekanga got a plaque and a sh5m prize.
The composer captivated the audience with an impromptu rendition of the anthem “Makerere, We build for the future”, sending the gathering on to their feet in a standing ovation to him.
The emotional reunion at the campus was presided over by the Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi who represented President Yoweri Museveni.
Others at the ceremony included education minister Maj. Jessica Alupo, her deputy Chrysostom Muyingo, minister without portfolio Richard Todwong and the university’s chancellor, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, among others.
Vice chancellor Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu announced that the university, whose ratings had slipped for some time, is currently rising and has been ranked the fourth best university on the African continent.
He pointed out that the university management will strive to ensure that it becomes sub-Saharan Africa’s No.1 university once again.
But he admitted that there are challenges, especially of funding, which he believes cannot be tackled by the institution alone. He made it clear that government alone cannot also solve all the challenges.
“We need the Government, development partners, the private sector, students and the alumni to contribute to the development of the institution.
“The role of the alumni in any institution cannot be underestimated. You are the core of the existence of any university. As you are aware most universities especially in the north have mostly succeeded because of the support from the alumni,” Prof. Ddumba said.
Mwai Kibaki, PM Amama Mbabazi, MUK's Mondo Kagonyera, education minister Jessica Alupo (extreme-right) and composer of Makerere anthem Wilson Mutekanga Igaga (with stick) pose for a group photo at Makerere Freedom Square, August 3, 2013. PHOTO/Kennedy Oryema
The decades-old university has produced over 300,000 graduates over the years, strewn all over the world.
So the professor said the former students’ contribution should be tapped to ensure that the university develops to the needed standards in research as well as science and technology advancement.
Extolling Kibaki’s contribution, Prof. Ddumba said that the former Kenyan president has made great contribution to Uganda, Kenya, the region and internationally.
The ex-Kenyan statesman graduated from the university in 1955 with a First Class honours degree in economics and holds an honorary Doctorate of Laws of Makerere.
He is particularly recognized for his contribution in areas of political, social and economic reforms.
Gen. Elly Tumwine also paid tribute to Kibaki, saying his contribution spans 50 years as a politician who in 1960 returned to Kenya.
After taking the secret Mau Mau oath back then, Kibaki joined the independence struggle and “has never looked back since”, said Tumwine.
He highlighted that Kibaki cracked down on corruption in Kenya and contributed forces for the pacification of Somalia, which are among his numerous contributions to Kenya and the region.