September 8, 2023



Former UCU guild president returns to study theology

By Pauline Luba
Uganda Christian University (UCU) student, Philip Mugume Baitwa, attests to the fact that life is  partly made by the caliber of friends we choose.

At 15 years of age, and while a student of Mbarara High School in western Uganda, Baitwa sought to befriend classmates who he thought would inspire him to social and academic heights. He succeeded in making friends, but did not succeed in gaining positively from the friendships. 

Influenced by substance abuse, pornography addiction and juvenile delinquency, Baitwa says he was violent and a bully by senior four. He led many student strikes at school.  

“I was lost,” said Baitwa, who was raised by a Christian grandfather, a canon in the Anglican Church in Uganda. While engaged in negative life choices, Baitwa said there were times he felt uncomfortable that he had separated himself from the religious teachings that his grandfather emphasized. 

“Every time I was lost, there was a voice in my head telling me I was in the wrong, though I ignored it,” Baitwa said.

How He Discovered His Calling in Divinity at UCU

The 34-year-old eventually listened to the voice that was showing him the right path. He is now a year-three student pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at UCU.

He said his turning point came when he joined Valley College High School in western Uganda for A’level after many people spoke to him about changing his ways for the better. 

In 2010, Baitwa joined UCU to pursue a Bachelor of Laws, a course he says was largely influenced by his father’s desire.

“My father did not study his dream course — law — unlike his brothers,” Baitwa said. “And that saddened him. Someone, however, told him that if he got a son one day, he could live his dream in his son.” Baitwa’s father, Enoch Tumusiime Baitwa, instead studied a certificate course in veterinary medicine. 

Upon admission in 2010, Baitwa already had it in his mind to contest for the position of Guild President at UCU. He had been a student leader before. While in Kitwe Town Primary School in western Uganda, Baitwa was a time-keeper, health leader and eventually became the school’s top leader. 

In 2013, he was successful in the guild elections. One memorable thing about Baitwa’s leadership was changing the semester for voting for student leaders at UCU from January–May to September–December. And to justify the change, the Baitwas reasoned that in the January-May semester, many of the students are either on holiday or in internships so they would not participate in the voting of their leaders. They, thus, preferred the September-December semester, that had every student at school.  

After graduating from his law course in 2014, it did not take Baitwa long to realize that despite the law degree, his heart was elsewhere. “I didn’t like sitting behind a computer for long. I’m an outgoing person and I like to socialize,” Baitwa said.

In 2020, Baitwa said he experienced what many describe as the “call to Christ.” He began to have constant communication within himself, directing himself towards Christ and the service of God. Finally, in 2021, he returned to UCU to study divinity. 

Many friends and family members, however, rebuked him for the decision, with some calling it “foolish.” Even some of his church leaders, he said, could not readily believe the decision he had taken. 

“Theology is the queen of all subjects,” Baitwa said of the reason for the switch.  “We see it in all other courses. The legal framework is from the Bible.”

Baitwa hopes to combine his knowledge of the law with that of divinity once he graduates, to be able to “fill the legal gaps in church.” The father of three children — three years, one year and a three-month old baby — says his ultimate life goal is to see people live for God’s purpose, regardless of what career they are pursuing.

To give his family a livelihood during the time he is in school, Baitwa trained his wife — Peace Mugume — on how to handle investments and how to run the family farm.


Former UCU students establish alumni community in eastern Uganda

By Kefa Senoga
In a bold move that underlines a desire to further the comradeship created during student days at Uganda Christian University (UCU), the institution’s alumni have launched a project where they can buy land and settle in the same area. 

The project, dubbed Alumni Villages, was introduced by a committee from the UCU Alumni Association’s Eastern Chapter to foster living in one community among former students of the institution.

The UCU alumni, led by Paulo Katto, the eastern representative on the Alumni Association Executive, started the mobilization and purchase of over three hectares (7.4 acres) of land located in Bukomolo village, Budaka district, eastern Uganda. 

According to Eriah Lule, the official in charge of publicity of the project, for one to own a piece of land in the alumni village, they pay sh1.5million (about $406) for a 50 feet by 100 feet plot of land.  

Lule, who also has purchased land in the village, noted that it is a viable investment at a low cost. “Land is costly today. As a young person trying to build myself, this was a good opportunity for me to also acquire a piece of land,” Lule says.

He added that so far 76 alumni have been able to acquire plots in the area, though their target is 100 people. There are plans to establish UCU alumni villages in other parts of Uganda.

UCU’s Vision for Bukomolo Village and Beyond

Katto, the team leader of the project, said factors like accessibility and proximity were

The chairperson of Bukomolo village, Musa Kawiso, welcoming the alumni to the area
The chairperson of Bukomolo village, Musa Kawiso, welcoming UCU alumni to the area

considered before they purchased the land. People who set up structures in the village will be able to access the national grids of electricity and water, according to Katto. 

In purchasing the land, Katto said they followed due process by involving lawyers, surveyors and local leaders. 

Tatiana Wandar, an alumna dealing in real estate, said that the alumni have a bigger vision of developing Bukomolo village into an estate, providing all the social services that the residents would need. 

The chairperson of Bukomolo village, Musa Kawiso, expressed joy at the initiative, saying: “I believe the team of UCU alumni will develop the village.”

The family that provided the land for purchase by the UCU Alumni
The family that provided the land for purchase by the UCU Alumni

Dorothy Amony, the UCU Mbale College secretary, said the alumni had left a mark in the development of the community and marketing of UCU as an institution.

“As the administration, we shall support you in all your ventures as the alumni association,” Amony noted.

The development comes after members of the Engineering Development Fund (EDF), an association of older students of UCU’s Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Design, in 2021 bought land in central Uganda. The land, purchased at sh42m (about $12,000) with each member contributing sh2m, was subdivided into 30 plots, with each of the 27 members taking a plot.