By Joseph Lagen
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that included business and education lockdowns in Uganda, the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Financial Aid Office put out an advert, calling for applications for financial relief. For some students who were stuck and unable to pay their tuition fees, help was possible. The benefactor was Uganda Partners, a USA-based organization that provides material and spiritual support for students through sponsorship.
When Mpyangu Denis Swanyi, at the time a final year student at UCU, saw the advert, he did not hesitate to apply. As a result of that action, Mpyangu is a graduate. He was among the 468 students who received a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2021.
“I often wondered where my tuition fee would come from. Thank God, the angelic Uganda Partners was there in my time of need,” Mpyangu says, adding: “May the good Lord reward those kind hearts.”
The gesture by the Uganda Partners has tickled a charitable spirit in Mpyangu. He could not even wait for his graduation before rolling out his benevolent cause. At Mpyangu’s area of residence, Nansana, near Kampala, he has brought together youthful residents against a burgeoning evil.
Ugandans, who are familiar with Nansana Division in Uganda, know it is a cesspool of crime. It registered “the highest number of motorcycle thefts in 2020,” according to the 2020 Annual crime report.
“I initiated a community coalition called Nansana Division Coalition Against Drugs. The initiative offers peer-to-peer education and advocacy for a drug-free generation,” says Mpyangu, who hopes to use the knowledge he gained at school to build a better community and next generation.
He is also a frequent guest at one of the local community radio stations, Tiger FM, where he broadcasts the same lifestyle message and solicits volunteers for the same cause.
But why did Mpyangu choose UCU as his university of choice for his bachelor’s degree?
“With its Christian values and client centeredness,” Mpyangu says “there is no university in Uganda that is as friendly and welcoming as UCU.”
“I was further attracted by their excellent service and the good reputation their law faculty has built over time.” Of the 3,368 students who graduated on October 22, 2021, 14% received Bachelor of Laws.
Mpyangu says he was a big beneficiary of the cohesion among students at UCU, as well as staff members.
Coming from a large family of 15 children – both nuclear and extended – the third born in the family says raising the $1,000 tuition fees twice a year was not an easy task for his family. Mpyangu says on more than one occasion, he was rescued financially by Good Samaritans.
To practice law in Uganda, one must attain a Diploma in Legal Practice at Uganda’s Law Development Centre. Mpyangu has enrolled for that course. He says after the diploma course, he hopes to acquire a master’s and PhD in law one day to help him argue cases in court from a more informed point of view.