Makerere has changed the world for the better, say alumni in Kenya
“Today’s event is testimony to the fact that Makerere University knows no borders. Makerere University has contributed to not only the EAC and Africa’s human resource development but also to the liberation of Africa intellectually. Her contribution to the transformation of Uganda, the East African region, Africa, and the world at large cannot be overestimated.”
The Makerere University Staff and Students Alumni Association, Kenya Chapter has held a pre-centennial event celebrating the university’s 100 years of Excellence in Building a Transformed Kenyan Society.
The Governor of Kisumu, Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyongo’ challenged the alumni present on what their ‘drum measure instinct’ was and whether it would be able to contribute to changing society? “Whatever field you are in, you must work towards leaving this world better than you found it. That’s why the motto says, “We build for the future” so that after us, the next generation will find a world much better than the one we found.” he said.
Quoting an English playwright who once posited that, “I am not a religious person, but when I find really religious people we connect organically”, Prof. Anyang’ Nyongo’ drew a parallel between conventionally religious people and those who intend to change the world and leave it better than they found it. In his words, the playwright was a socialist with a fundamentalist view of religion at a time when certain issues were not subject to discussion. Prof. Anyang’ Nyongo’ characterises those who seek to build for the future, such as the alumni of Makerere, as really religious people.
Representing the Makerere University Council, Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, who is also the Chairperson of the Students Affairs Committee expressed her gratitude to the network of alumni in Kenya who made the event a possibility and a success.
Speaking at the event, she pointed out that the theme and celebration of the contributions of Kenyan Alumni to the Growth of the university was a good starting point for introspective conversations about the celebrations and she highlighted the scope of Makerere’s contributions. She also emphasised the continental and global role played by the university since its inception.
“Today’s event is testimony to the fact that Makerere University knows no borders. Makerere University’s contribution to not only the EAC and Africa’s human resource development but also to the liberation of Africa intellectually her contribution to the transformation of Uganda, the East African region, Africa, and the world at large cannot be overestimated,” she said.
Prof. Nambalirwa implored the alumni to take on the opportunity presented by these celebrations and renew their commitment to making even greater contributions, to Makerere, that will continue for another century. She also pointed out that the University is well-positioned to continue with, but also greatly improve, impactful research and innovations that would benefit society.
The president of the Kenyan Chapter, Mr. Diro John, illustrated what was in a motto. The attitude, ideals and guiding principles that are associated with the phrase “We build for the future” can be seen in the lives of Makerere’s Alumni in Kenya. From Prof. David Wasawo to Prof. Bethwell Ogot, Mr. Diro concluded by appealing to the University to pick from its long list of Kenyan alumni since there is no shortage of great men and women from whom university centres can be named after.
It has been more than half a century, fifty-nine years to be exact, since Dr. Joseph Aluoch entered the gates of Makerere, and his memory is that Makerere was a place to behold. It wasn’t just an institution, it was a place larger than life itself. When you made it to Makerere, you became somebody to behold.
Currently, the patron of the Kenya Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Dr. Aluoch remembers the 1966 Kabaka Crisis as a student in those days. “The only bad times I recall were when the Kabaka was overthrown by Obote’s government. I remember we had to walk through a parade of military tanks in Wandegeya from Makerere to Mulago. This was one of the scariest moments I endured as a student in Makerere.” he recalled.
His Medical training from Makerere had been exceptional and this was reflected in his postgraduate education. “For those of us who had the privilege of being trained at Makerere, when we went to the United Kingdom for postgraduate studies, we were constantly asked, “Where were you trained for your Bachelor’s degree?” If a student was an alumnus of Makerere University, they were not asked to take on any other training at the beginning of postgraduate studies. On the contrary, they were always tasked to start working on patients immediately.” he added.
Also present at the event was the Minister Counsellor, Mr. Aryabaha Evans who represented the Uganda High Commission in Kenya and H.E. Dr. Hassan W. Galiwango, Uganda’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya and Seychelles.