Jimmy Siyasa


Mwesigwa’s loyalty to Christianity led her to UCU SoM

By Kefa Senoga
Listening to Joy Mwesigwa’s path to pursuing a course in human medicine at Uganda Christian University (UCU), one cannot help but conclude that, indeed, this was a predetermined route for the 21-year-old. 

Mwesigwa was mesmerized with the world of medicine as early as age 10 when her parents — Dr. Albert Siminyu and Mrs. Resty Nanziri Siminyu — would take her to a pediatrician. Mwesigwa names one particular paediatrician, Dr Jamil Mugalu, who she says conducted his work with so much ease and admiration that it played a role in motivating her to consider joining the profession. Mugalu is a senior pediatrician at Uganda’s national referral facility, Mulago Hospital.

“I admire doctors who can make a diagnosis with ease and offer treatment that actually works while still being compassionate, kind and are able to listen to the challenges of patients and their families,” says Mwesigwa, a second-year student of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at UCU’s School of Medicine.

Mwesigwa says her heart and mind resonated with a course in medicine and surgery because “it is in line with my passion to help people, regardless of the situation, learn more about the complexities of the human body and give back to society.” 

Mwesigwa (standing, third-left) with student colleagues at the UCU SoM
Mwesigwa (standing, third-left) with student colleagues at the UCU SoM

Even at home, she says, her parents supported her choice of career by offering financial and emotional support. “My father sometimes makes medical research in line with the course units I am pursuing at university, in order to have medical conversations with me,” Mwesigwa said from her school campus in Mengo, Kampala, during an interview that was conducted online.

For the two years that Mwesigwa has sat in the classroom at the medical school, she has been able to discover that every patient is unique in their own way, which means that learning never ends.  

Because of the complexity and the exciting nature of the human body, Mwesigwa says there are many concepts she has not yet understood, but that the answer lies in her conducting more research. 

For the two years that she has been studying the course, Mwesigwa says she is already able to debunk some age-old myths that she learned in her community. One of them, for example, is that rain causes malaria. “I have learned that people in my community normally associate most fevers with malaria, which isn’t entirely true.” 

And she is well prepared to debunk many more such myths because she believes that part of the social responsibilities of a doctor is to correct the misconceptions that society has about health, medicines and vaccines.

She believes that the spread of an epidemic like the HIV chronic immune system disease in Uganda is exacerbated by the myths and misconceptions that the society is fed on. She says young people protect themselves more from pregnancy than contracting HIV, which should not be the case since HIV has no cure. 

Being a devout Christian, when Mwesigwa was making choices on where to pursue her degree course, it was obvious where her choice would be. “The fact that UCU is a university set up on Christian principles, I believed it would offer me the platform to learn to be a good doctor as I also practice my Christian values.”

In UCU, she says she has found a home with reliable friends that support her academically and spiritually. She points out key figures like the Rev. Onen Ocen Walter, the UCU SoM chaplain and lecturers like Dr. Lwanira Catherine and Dr. Gerald Tumusiime, who she says have often offered her advice.

Her choice of UCU is not surprising, given that for her secondary school, she attended Gayaza High School and Seeta High School — schools with a firm foundation on religious doctrine. At Seeta High School, she was the head-girl, president of the school’s Interact Club and the head of the ushers in the school chapel. At UCU, she is the secretary of the Writers’ Society of the university’s School of Medicine and a choir leader in the same school.

The virtues that Mwesigwa says she possesses — honesty, patience, kindness and being a collaborative team player — are vital for her career growth. In fact, she hopes to take advantage of them to see how far they can propel her into achieving a specialty in neurosurgery and a doctorate in medicine.  

She also hopes to be able to set up a health facility and extend free medical camps to the underprivileged, with support from donors. And to be able to extend pro bono services to the community, Mwesigwa would desire practicing her profession in Uganda. 

Computing & Tech department holds new students’ meet-and-greet

By Andrew Bugembe

The Uganda Christian University (UCU) Department of Computing and Technology today held its first-ever meet-and-greet session between staff and postgraduate students.

About 40 students who have been accepted into three different master’s programs for the Academic Year 2023 attended the programme which took place inside the ICMI building, at the Main Campus. 

The purpose of the meeting was to allow students to meet their department heads, UCU staff from other departments including the Hamu Mukasa Library and fellow students in person, as all previous sessions had been conducted virtually.

The session, according to Dr. Innocent Ndibatya, the Head of the Department, was a success and provided a valuable opportunity for networking and relationship-building among students and department heads.

“Overall, it was a great chance for students to connect with the department, and gain insights into the programs they will be taking at the university,” Dr. Ndibatya said. 

Members present share a cup
Since a majority of the Postgraduate programmes at UCU have since the advent of COVID-19 gone virtual, such sessions offer new students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the university campus and also know the various university staff, whose help they may need during the course of their study.

” I have learnt how to model and assimilate systems, I have also learnt how to manage systems securely and this has come in really handy for me even at my workplace,” says Drake Tamale, one of the Masters of Information technology students, and also staff at the UCU Library.

“This meet-and-greet has helped put a face to the names of some of my classmates and lecturers, who I had never met since we started to study.”

Doreen Atukunda, the Coordinator of Postgrad programmes at the Department of Computing and Technology noted that such a meeting will in the long run bridge a gap that tends to exist between students and staff whose main interaction happens online. ” Such a session opens our students to the resources on campus and also affords them the opportunity to forge cordial relationships with their lecturers,” said Atukunda.

Emmanuel Isabirye, a first-year student of MSc in Data Science and Analytics noted that the session offered him an opportunity to hear from experts including a South Africa-based scholar named Dr. Jason A. Samuels.

Dr. Samuels was a guest presenter from the University of Stellenbosch. He presented a Data Science-oriented paper on Green Technology and Sustainability, which is part of a research project he is currently undertaking. This offered good inspiration to some of the students who have enrolled for Data Science, which is one of the fairly new courses in the Department.

Some of the Postgraduate programmes at the Department of Computing and Technology include:

  • Master of Science (MSc) in Data Science and Analytics,
  • MSc in Computer Science
  • Master of Information and Technology.

All these are available in the three main intakes of UCU, namely Easter (January), Trinity (May) and Advent (September).

Meet the new Chief at the Helm: Assoc. Prof Martin Lwanga, CEO of ESAMI

By Jimmy Siyasa

The Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) has appointed Professor Martin Lwanga as its new Director General and CEO. This is a major milestone for the renowned institution, as it marks the first time a Ugandan has risen to such a high position within the organization.

Professor Lwanga’s appointment has been met with much excitement and congratulations from his former colleagues, students, and the leadership of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) where he has served as an Associate Professor of Management for 11 years. UCU’s Vice Chancellor, Associate Professor Aaron Mushengyezi, stated, “UCU sends out yet another missionary! Congratulations to our member of staff and dear brother, Assoc. Prof. Martin Lwanga. We look forward to building a fruitful UCU-ESAMI partnership.”

Associate Professor Lwanga’s impact on the fields of management consultancy, business development, and Christian leadership in Uganda has not gone unnoticed. His colleagues at UCU speak highly of his dedication, discipline, and loyalty, with lecturer Mr. Richard Ssebaggala saying, “Having Lwanga as a leader is a plus to the institution (ESAMI), although it is already established, his qualities will move it to greater heights.” He takes over from Zambian Professor Bonard Mwappe.

As Dean of the UCU School of Business in 2014, Lwanga quickly established himself as a leading researcher in the field of management and has published numerous articles in top-tier journals, including the African Journal of Business and Law. He has also been invited to speak at conferences and other events around the world and has been the recipient of many awards and grants for his research, including two Uganda Human Resource Managers Association awards for Teaching the Practice of Management.

Lwanga’s career path has been a diverse one, starting with teaching and supervising postgraduate students at Makerere University for two years before quitting to help start a Christian radio station in Uganda, Power FM (104.1), where he served as CEO until 2003. He then took on a role as a Senior Management Consultant at the Uganda Management Institute (UMI) for over a decade before moving on to his position at UCU.

With a Doctor of Business Leadership from the University of South Africa, a Masters in Business Administration from the Maastricht School of Management, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Urban Governance from the Institute of Housing Studies in Rotterdam, and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma, Lwanga is well-equipped to lead ESAMI to even greater heights.

As one of his former students, Opio Desmond Tutu, tweeted, “Congratulations to my former Management Skills lecturer at UMI. one fine and reputable name in Ugandan academic circles. “You are surely up to the task, and best wishes, Prof. Lwanga.”


Lwanga went to Kings College Buddo, from where he attained a Higher Education Certificate to qualify which qualified him for university education. He enrolled at Makerere University (1984) from where he graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology in 1894.

He is passionate about personal development, good governance and raising Africa’s next generation of leaders: an evident factor in his long, upward career trajectory. Hence his win at Arusha-based ESAMI is unsurprising to those that know the man.

Assoc. Prof. Lwanaga is married to Milly Lwanga with whom they make their home in Kampala, Uganda, together with their children.

Banja narrates how UCU prepared her for greatness

By Irene Best Nyapendi
Hard work rarely goes unacknowledged. For the Rev. Canon Assoc. Prof. Olivia Nassaka Banja, the sweat that she has been breaking in the academic sphere has yielded results with her appointment to the apex management position of a university in Uganda.

Banja is the new Vice-Chancellor of Ndejje University. Her appointment makes her the third Vice Chancellor of Ndejje, and the first woman to hold that position in the university. Banja was the Dean of the School of Education at Uganda Christian University (UCU) for about a year prior to her new position.

“I’m grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to serve at UCU, where I have been groomed, shaped, mentored and equipped with skills that I am taking with me to serve and lead in another institution,” said Banja, who was headhunted for the position because of her stellar performance and tested legacy as an administrator at UCU.

Banja became the first female dean of UCU’s Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology in 2008 and served in the position till June 2014, when she became UCU’s Director for Teaching and Learning. It was from this position that she switched to head the UCU School of Education as its dean in September 2021.

L-R UCU bids farewell to the Rev. Canon Assoc. Prof. Olivia Nassaka Banja: The UCU Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, his wife, Mrs. Patience Mushengyezi, Rev. Canon Olivia Nassaka Banja and her husband the Rev. Can. Moses Banja, inside the UCU Pricinpals’ hall.

Formerly Bishop Tucker Theological College, the school, which started in 1913, gave birth to UCU, in 1997. Looking at Banja’s academic journey before becoming the dean of UCU’s Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology, it was evident she was undergoing formative preparation for the big job. For instance, as early as 1993, she was the curate of St Andrew’s Cathedral Mityana Diocese and was made the acting vicar of the same cathedral the following year.

Banja was part of UCU’s inaugural staff members, serving as a lecturer and also the Female Students’ Warden. In 2004, she was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer. She was part of the team that developed the first PhD program at UCU, the Doctor of Ministry.

The holder of a bachelor’s degree, three master’s and a PhD was ordained deacon in the Church of Uganda on December 19, 1993. She says that the day she committed her life to God was the day she “saw her path.”

Also in 1993, she was a recipient of a First Class in Bachelor of Divinity at the Bishop Tucker Theological College Mukono. In 1996, she earned a Master of Arts in Religious Studies of Makerere University and added another master’s degree, MA, Mission and Ministry of St John’s College, Nottingham University in the UK, the following year.

And Banja was not done yet, with her master’s degrees. In 2000, she earned her third, Master of Theology by Research of the University of Edinburgh. In the same year, she started her PhD course in the same university, graduating in 2004.

As she leaves UCU, Banja looks back with great pride at the first graduation ceremony of the university in 2000. She remembers typing and printing all of her exams before heading to the nearby Mukono town to photocopy because the university did not have such services at the time.

“After all we had done, seeing the university produce its first graduates was a great joy to me,” she said.

For all that the 55-year-old has achieved, she thanks her parents, James Lwanga and Daisy Ndagire. “My father didn’t have gender stereotypes, and he believed in me to be an achiever at a very young age.”

For her primary education, Banja attended Bat Valley Primary School and Nakasero Secondary School for both her O’level and A’level. Both Bat Valley and Nakasero are located in Kampala.

She married the Rev. Canon Venerable Moses Banja in April 2001. Banja says she spends her free time cooking and reading when not busy with academic or religious work.


UCU partners with German-based universities on renewable energy and more

By Jimmy Siyasa

“Renewables are by far the cheapest form of power today,” once remarked Francesco La Camera, the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This is a fact. Not only that, but they are also the most eco-friendly forms of energy humanity can have today.

We live in a time where the ecosystem is under daily attack; being sacrificed on the altar of development/industrialization, and needs a “saviour”.

An April 2022 study this year by the World Economic Forum found that by 2020, only a slight “9% of all energy generated in Africa came from renewable sources,” yet the continent has massive potential to be a leading player in the global renewable energy sector.

Germany: Prof. Mushengyezi meets with the President of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Uta Feser, and the Vice President for Internationalization, Prof. Elmar Steurer.

In response to this challenge, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has embarked on the pursuit of partnerships, especially with various institutions of higher learning in big-player countries regarding renewables. The latest are German-based universities.

Early this week, the UCU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, met with the President of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU), Prof. Uta Feser, and the Vice President for Internationalization, Prof. Elmar Steurer, in Germany. They discussed the possibility of joint projects, among other mutual pursuits.

Prof. Mushengyezi and Prof. Feser also agreed to renew the partnership agreement focusing on research and student exchange.

UCU and HNU have been implementing a project on renewable energy (solar project) in the Koome Islands, led by Dr. Miria Agunyo, Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Kizito, Dr. Stephen Kyakulumbye and Dr. Jeremy Waiswa; who are all UCU researchers and some senior academic administrators.

The solar power project named the “Implementation of Solar Mini-Grids for Digital Learning Models in the Rural Areas of Uganda,” seeks to provide access to reliable electricity and clean energy for the islanders who have known darkness for years.

The UCU team also visited Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences in Munich. It specializes in agriculture-related disciplines and renewable energy. Discussions with the university management focused on the possibilities of partnerships in agricultural, food science, and renewable energy areas. Thereafter, the UCU toured the KTN Factory, based in Bavaria, Germany. It is one of the industry partners of HNU.

UCU Cardinals beat Nkumba 2-0, qualify for Semis

By Joel Muhumuza

Spirits were high at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) today, October 06, as the Cardinals topped Nkumba 2-0 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Pepsi University League. The defending champions beat the Entebbe-based varsity during a home game played at the UCU main football pitch.

An early goal by Isaac Ofoyirwoth set the pace for the Cardinals when he redirected a free kick that rolled off the goalkeeper. The fans wildly celebrated this early goal.

The Cardinals went ahead through David Mbalaga to net a penalty that sent the Nkumba goalkeeper stretching like rubber to no avail.

UCU Cardinals ‘boys’ mark an opponent. Courtesy photo

“The win really means a lot to me, to the team and the entire university, and I thank God for it,” said Jimmy Mwera, the head coach of the UCU Cardinals, who was beside himself with joy after such a remarkable victory.

Suleiman Mbosa, the Nkumba University team head coach, says that the results were not what they hoped for, but they will go back to the drawing board and come back much stronger.

Godfrey Gaganga, the team captain for the UCU, pointed out that the preparation for this game was crucial, and it all comes back to teamwork and prayer. “

Despite our best efforts and undying confidence, we could not afford to lose at home.”

The Cardinals scored a third goal which was cancelled out by the offside call. But this did not prevent them from booking their spot in the semis.

COVID-19 and the Media in Sub-Saharan Africa: Media viability, Framing and Health Communication

By Jimmy Siyasa

This book, published by Emerald Publishing House, is an amalgam of research works seeking the nexus between Media and COVID-19 from a diversity of perspectives, though with a strict focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

The global outbreak of COVID-19 led to a rise in research studies seeking to understand the nexus between Media and COVID-19. However, little attention had been paid to this subject in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. This book is an attempt to address this research gap by providing a comprehensive overview of the role of media in the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. It contains contributions from leading scholars in the field, with many of them active academics and industry players at Uganda Christian University (UCU), who offer a variety of perspectives on the topic.

The book is edited by Dr. Carol Azungi Dralega of NLA University College, Norway, and Dr. Angella Napakol of Uganda Christian University, Uganda.


Click here to get the Full Book

COVID-19 and the Media in Sub-Saharan Africa is among the first books uniting scholars to examine media viability, framing and health crisis communication connected to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. The findings may be applicable also to other global crises, both in and outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, and may help practitioners and scholars alike to understand the complexity of preconditions and structures of media ecologies.

The highly diverse cases are characterized by the authors’ first-hand knowledge of the media in the Sub-Saharan African context. Focusing on newly collected cases from a broad number of countries, the authors study whether the pandemic changed the conditions for media viability, framing, and outreach. It also covers concrete examples of how the specific health communication led to changes in social behaviour and mental health. Last, but not least, it provides gendered and marginalisation lenses to understand barriers for media users and media producers.

The highly diverse cases are characterized by the authors’ first-hand knowledge of the media in the Sub-Saharan African context. Focusing on newly collected cases from a broad number of countries, the authors study whether the pandemic changed the conditions for media viability, framing, and outreach. It also covers concrete examples of how the specific health communication led to changes in social behaviour and mental health. Last, but not least, it provides gendered and marginalisation lenses to understand barriers for media users and media producers.

Throughout the pandemic, publishing houses in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world faced severe obstacles. In different ways, the pandemic influenced the room for manoeuvres. Different conditions were involved and influenced whether media content was published, and with what quality. Three factors were key: political conditions, financial resources, and the level of journalistic expertise. If there was political room for manoeuvre, if there were sufficient financial resources, and if there was a high level of competence, the media was often found to disseminate independent, critical, and research-based information, monitor public institutions, and provide a platform for public debate and dialogue.

The authors connect these factors with media viability and media framing. Based on empirical data and theoretical perspectives, they challenge traditional understandings of media. To understand factors preventing and promoting critical and fact-based media during the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers looked at both the media’s finances and priorities, the individual journalist’s competence and resilience, and the political influence that publishing houses and journalists were exposed to through propaganda and restrictions on media freedom.

Margot Skarpeteig Program Manager– Human Rights, Inclusion and Empowerment, the World Bank

Tanzania: A pictorial from VC, DVC AA… visit to TZ

Arusha: Tanzania

In order to boost collaboration, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, and the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Finance and Administration, Mr. David Mugawe, met with the DVC Academic Affairs, Prof. Ismael Mbisa, and the DVC for Administration, Prof. Faustin Mahali of Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, Tanzania.
The discussion centered on future collaboration in joint research, teaching, grant writing, staff and student exchange programs, and joint publications.

Prof. Mushengyezi handing over a gift to the DVC for Administration Prof. Faustin Mahali and the DVC AA Prof. Ismael Mbisa of Tumaini University Makumira.
Prof. Mushengyezi and Dr, James Magara, the Dean of the UCU School of Dentistry, during a tour of Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha
Tour continued.
Prof. Mushengyezi tours the cultural centre of Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, Dareslaam.
The team shares a group photo after the tour (L-R): Dr. James Magara, Prof. Ismael Mbisa, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, Prof. Mahali of Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, Tanzania and Mr. David Mugawe.

Of UCU (September 25) Sunday

By Irene Best Nyapendi
It is that time of the year, again, when representatives of Uganda Christian University (UCU), take time off to spread the gospel about the institution. Named the UCU Sunday, the day, celebrated every last Sunday of September, was set aside by the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, for the province to hold prayers for the church-founded institution.

In addition to the prayers, the UCU Sunday, which will be celebrated on Sunday, September 25, is intended to mobilize support and resources for various activities at UCU, as well as create awareness about developments at the institution. 

Speaking about the objective of this year’s UCU Sunday, UCU Chaplain, the Rev. Canon Eng. Paul Wasswa Ssembiro, said it is three-fold. 

Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu
Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu

“Our main objective this year is to pray for the institution, support clergy students through scholarship and also construct the Ordinands Apartment,” Ssembiro said. 

UCU is currently working with the 37 dioceses, alumni, the university’s guild government and students in preparation for the day. UCU Sunday first took place in 2017.

The Ordinands Apartments is intended to accommodate clergy students at the university. The apartment is expected to house more than 50 ordinands. An ordinand is a person training to be a priest or a church minister. Richard Mulindwa, the Church Relations Manager at UCU, noted that theology students require a calm environment to focus on God. 

“At the moment, the students are residing in the same halls of residence with other students, which is not ideal for their concentration,” Mulindwa said. 

UCU Council Chairperson on UCU Sunday

While preaching at a virtual UCU Sunday service last year, UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi explained the reason for the Ordinands Apartments. He said some of the ordinands are married and would wish that their spouses could visit them during weekends. However, that is not possible since they reside with other students. 

Last year’s service, which was virtual due to a ban on gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus, was celebrated at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala. That ban on physical gatherings in church has since been lifted due to the waning number of Covid-19 infections globally. 

Recently, Prof. Mushengyezi said UGX 400m (about $113,000) had already been secured for the apartment project that is estimated to cost UGX 8.5b (over $2.2m).

The UCU Chancellor, Archbishop Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, appealed to Christians to take part in the UCU Sunday. He called upon the flock to support the project under the theme “Arise, let us build the walls” (Nehemiah 2:18). Kaziimba also emphasized that ordinands need a supportive environment while pursuing their dreams of being professional evangelists. 

Collections for the past UCU Sunday events have been used to implement a number of projects at the institution. For instance, the UGX 300 million that was collected for the UCU Sunday of 2018 was invested in building the UCU School of Medicine at Mengo in Kampala. Unlike public universities that get financial support from the central government, private universities in Uganda, in which category UCU falls, are run on tuition fees paid by students. 

American donations can be made through the Uganda Partners Web site donation button at https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/. Put “UCU Sunday” in the comment box.  


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