By Kefa Senoga
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Business (SoB) has become the fourth of UCU’s 11 schools/faculties to have a formalized professional group for all its programs. For the SoB, it’s called a “society.”
For the School of Law, it’s also a society. For the School of Social Sciences, the name is Social Work Association. For the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, the group is the Media Link Association.
On August 2, 2022, the UCU Business Society, which is now the official fraternity unifying all students under the UCU SoB, was launched after tense elections. These were the first elections conducted by the Business Society and organized to usher in a democratic leadership. Ayebare Phillip Bravo emerged as the winner with 76.35%, with Mujuzi Paul Richard at second with 23.65%.
The founding committee members of the UCU Business Society shaking hands with the new committee.
As with all four groups, the rationale for the Business Society is primarily two-fold: Student sense of belonging, and building of skill sets, relationships and connections beyond the classroom.
Giving his speech at the launch, Ayebare discussed the importance of implementing a four-point program as follows:
Natasha Alinda, the Vice President-elect of the UCU Business Society, says the student body will promote culture and values of UCU, “policies concerning students of business can easily be passed through our association, which is student-oriented.”
The SoB Dean, Vincent Kisenyi, says that “through this society, students will be able to do a lot of things as students, build their self-esteem, work on the different activities in the school and build that oneness among themselves, hence enjoying their stay at the university.” Kisenyi adds that one of the important ingredients in the UCU Business Society will be a strong business fellowship that will guide students to understand everything is anchored on God.
Ssemakula Musa, the former guild member of parliament (MP) for the SoB and who spearheaded the formation of the society, says that as he was contesting for the position of MP SoB, he noted in his manifesto that he would pioneer the establishment of a body that unifies all students under the SoB.
“Many students were coming to me, requesting for the formation of an association that brings them together,” Ssemakula said. “They always related to the UCU law society, which had demonstrated its visibility at the campus.”
Ssemakula says that it was important to come up with the UCU Business Society due to the fact that there are so many courses under the SoB, for example, Business Administration, Procurement and Logistics, Accounting and Finance, Tourism and Hospitality.
He adds that besides the Business Society encouraging unity and mutual relationship among the students, it is also meant to establish relationships between the students of the UCU SoB and other external stakeholders.
“We are looking at partnerships from bigger business entities like Stanbic Bank, Uganda Revenue Authority, global companies like Coca-Cola,” Ssemakula said. “Therefore, the Business Society will mediate all these processes, beginning with sourcing for students’ internship opportunities in these big companies.”
Ssemakula adds that another core reason for establishing the business society was to create avenues for financial support for students, for example, “we have plans of introducing the 1k campaign to help, in one way or another, our colleagues who may lack tuition.” This campaign will be in addition to UCU’s recent launch of a “For just 10K, Change a Life” campaign, seeking a small donation of 10,000 shillings per person.
UCU has a process for such groups to be legally recognized by the university. A motion has to be tabled in the house of the students’ guild parliament and if this parliament passes it, then the guild vice-president, who is the guild official in charge of associations, forwards the matter to the Director of Students Affairs, who then presents it to the Vice Chancellor for approval.
By Eriah Lule
Miika is a 14-year-old fictional character living in northern Uganda. As the story goes, her family had enough of the tyranny of the government forces and she took matters into her hands to save the day.
This 3D short animated film by the same name as the main character, “Miika,” is the darling of international film festivals and written and directed by Uganda Christian University (UCU) alum Shevon Nsiimenta. Already, it has won the Best Animation Film Category at the CineOdyssey Film Festival.
And that is not all. Nsiimenta says her film that lasts a little over five minutes has received a nomination at two other festivals, was a finalist at the Auber International Film Festival and also got an Official Selection at yet another festival – the Flickfair Film Festival.
At the Los Angeles International Film Festival, Nsiimenta was a nominee for the Best First Time Female Director, and her film, “Miika,” got a nomination for the Best Animation Film. All this is happening before the film hits the cinemas. Nsiimenta says it should be released soon.
The inspiration for Nsiimenta’s storyline is from the experience of watching or hearing about women and children who always end up as the primary victims of war and tyranny. And Uganda has lots of tales to tell about civil strife and tyrannical regimes.
From 1986 to 2006, there was civil war in northern Uganda, orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group and terrorist organization. As a result of the war, many women in northern Uganda suffered rape, torture, murder, forced marriages and domestic violence.
The regime of former Ugandan President Idi Amin, which was from 1971 to 1979, has been largely described as tyrannical. It is, therefore, not surprising that Nsiimenta’s film is set in northern Uganda during the reign of Amin.
Since Nsiimenta loves movies, it became the natural medium for her to use to document the haunting tales and offer lessons on how one can easily see the back of the resulting trauma.
Despite the haunting tale of desperation that Miika’s family faced, Nsiimenta explains that she wanted to pass a message that no matter the number of horrors an individual faces, they can always turn tables on the oppressors.
“I chose a 14-year-old to deliver the family from its horrors because at that age, they are still innocently bold enough to take on the world,” says Nsiimenta, a 25-year-old graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication at UCU.
Miika is a short form for Malaika – a name that means Angel in Uganda.
“Indeed, I wanted Miika to be the angel for her family,” Nsiimenta, a scriptwriter, explains.
Perhaps, the success that “Miika” has so far achieved would not have been possible without the contribution of Kemiyondo Coutinho, a Ugandan playwright, actress and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
In 2020, Kemiyondo launched an initiative to help up-and-coming Ugandan female filmmakers to bring their stories to life on screen. In a venture that saw her look to raise over $25,000 to be shared among five women to help facilitate the making of a five-minute short film, Kemiyondo reached well-wishers who were able to answer positively to her cause. That is how the production of “Miika” and other four short films got financed.
Nsiimenta is the daughter of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Sheldon Mwesigwa, the Bishop of Ankole Diocese in western Uganda and former Chairperson of UCU University Council. She attended Mbarara Preparatory School in western Uganda, before relocating to central Uganda, where she attended Kampala Parents School, Gayaza High School and, later, UCU. Nsiimenta says UCU instilled in her a sense of discipline, self-respect and smartness, virtues she has found useful in her professional and personal life.
But she also had something to learn from those who taught her. “I also had admirable women to look up to in my faculty. Prof. Monica Chibita and Dr. Emilly Maractho served as wonderful examples to base my image on at the workplace,” she says.
She currently works as the Executive Advertising Assistant at Roofings Uganda Limited, a manufacturer of steel and construction materials in Uganda.
By Ivan Tsebeni
The 23rd guild government, headed by Kenneth Amponda Agaba, has procured three modern litter bins and six digital screens. These were installed yesterday at major blocks on the Uganda Christian University (UCU) campus.
Former guild president, Amponda Kenneth Agaba, who spearheaded the project, says the procurement collectively cost Shs. 20 million, which the guild generated from students’ activity fees.
The digital screens will aid the circulation of information to students from both the guild leadership and University administration. This, the outgoing guild cabinet believes, will reduce the use of paper posters on notice boards; a practice that used to contribute to littering of the campus when flyers fall off notice boards, to the ground.
This project has come ahead of the official handover of the 23rd guild Government to the next, due Saturday, 18 December 2021. said Kenneth Agaba, the outgoing guild President of UCU.
“We are contributing to the university’s dream of turning fully into an e-campus. It will be remembered of us to have added this important milestone,” Amponda said, adding, “ This has been a collective effort of the 23rd guild government. We wanted to make sure the project is executed before we officially hand over power.”
Talking about the project, the outgoing Guild Prime Minister Denis Kabila said the government has left a legacy that would last for years. “We purchased durable screens and litter bins which will last a very long time as a symbol of our legacy.” He called upon the current guild government to uphold the legacy of the 23 guild government and grow it further.
The Director of Student Affairs (DOSA), Bridget K. Mugume, extended her gratitude towards Amponda and his cabinet for leading by example “ Amponda has been so consultative and that is why he has achieved a lot in his leadership. May God reward him.” The DOSA plays an oversight role over the student guild’s activities.
What students say:
The regime was faced with all negative factors that would have served as perfect excuses for other leaders to not deliver, but Amponda never gave up. The government fought for students to sit for exams even with tuition balances. This stood out for me- Racheal Mwikhoyo – third-year student of Bachelor Nursing Science
It has been a great experience working with him as Deputy Prime minister. I have learned a lot from him. We have achieved a lot as a team- Benjamin Elaku – Fourth-year student of Bachelor of Laws
By Ivan Tsebeni
A newsroom at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mukono campus has been hosting some of the Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communications students as they put into practice their classroom knowledge.
That newsroom was a convergence point for recent graduates in October 2020 to celebrate the completion of their Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication. The students graduated on October 22. To crown the get-together, the students cut cake that was offered by Mark Bartels, the Executive Director of the UCU Partners, an organization that raises public awareness about UCU in the United States.
In a meeting chaired by John Semakula, the UCU Partners e-lab Communications Coordinator head of the UCU journalism and media studies department expressed gratitude to the UCU Partners for offering them a platform to hone their skills in journalism.
“I never imagined becoming a writer,” Eria Lule, one of the graduating writers, said. “I picked the inspiration from Mr. Semakula who always kept urging me to try it out.”
“I have acquired a lot of knowledge from the trainings I have undergone in the e-lab program. I will live to remember the project,” he added.
The e-lab project, rolled out in January 2021, was designed to offer an opportunity for UCU journalism students to get real-world experience. Sixteen students under the programme were part of the more than 3,000 who graduated at UCU on October 22.
Patty Huston-Holm, Partners communications director, designed the UCU/Uganda Partners e-lab model that is aligned with the university’s mission to prepare students for both continued learning and the world of work.
For the one year that the program has been running, emphasis has been put on writing and still photography, as well as video and audio products.
Nicolette Nampijja, one of the students who has been producing podcasts, said the training had greatly sharpened her skills in creating podcasts.
“I had always wanted to produce podcasts, but I didn’t know how to go about it,” she said. “This is an opportunity for me to start out as a podcaster.”
As of late November, UCU student-generated podcast episodes had aired on the topics of mainstream media, racial discrimination, fake pastors, sickle cell anemia, the life of Simon Peter and hate speech.
Jimmy Siyasa, one of the students and recent graduates, urged his colleagues to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available under the e-lab project to hone writing skills. Siyasa, who got himself a job at the university’s communications department ahead of his graduation, noted that without the skills he learned from the e-lab, he would not have been considered for the job.
Siyasa’s colleagues in the e-lab program – Nickie Karitas and Dalton Mujuni – have been hired by New Vision, Uganda’s leading daily newspaper, for a further mentorship program as they hone their journalism skills.
Bartels congratulated the students upon reaching their convocation, saying it positions them for great job opportunities.
“It feels good to hear that you are graduating, but it feels much better to hear that you have learned and we have contributed to the same,” he said.
“As you prepare to join your career world, ours is to pray that God will open doors for you,” Bartels added. “We look forward to continuing with this project and we will feel happy to see it grow.”
Semakula said that the idea to organize a cake-cutting party for the graduands came from Bartels, based in Pennsylvania, and Huston-Holm, who resides in the state of Ohio USA.
By Derrick Muduku
To many, being the Guild President at Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) Kampala campus and doing comedy at the same time is mutually exclusive. That was not the case for Mark Agaba. In 2019, Agaba, a famous figure in the entertainment circles, won the contest to become the campus’ top student leader.
The stand-up comedian, who goes by the stage name Uncle Mark, ably executed the two roles of comedy and student leadership.
His role as a student leader played a great part in Agaba scooping his most recent job as Public Relations Protocol Executive at Next Media Services, a media company in Uganda. Next Media Services owns NBS TV, Next Radio, news site Nile Post and Sanyuka TV.
“As Public Relations Protocol Executive, I am tasked with writing press releases, and reaching out to people who are engaging with our media outlets,” Agaba said. “This opportunity means a lot to me. I’m also expected to co-ordinate activities of Next Media Services with partner international media organizations, such as CNN and BBC.”
“I discovered my funny side during conversations with my friends,” he said. “Whenever I was around my peers, my comments would always leave them in stitches.” Agaba said that is what propelled him to take comedy more seriously and nurture his talent.
Agaba credits the virtues he learned at UCU for carving him into the person he is today.
“It is the virtues of Christ-centeredness, diligence, integrity and stewardship that I honor in every field of my life,” he said. “I have not found any better waves of transformation than these.”
Just how did Agaba manage to balance books, comedy and leadership?
“I endeavored to make the time for books, since I believed in leading, even in academics,” Agaba says. “I also have to give credit to the competent team with whom I served during my tenure as Guild President. I am grateful to my Vice President of the Guild leadership, Jemimah Jehopio, and the different heads of departments for their diligent service. They made my work a lot lighter and enjoyable.”
Phoebe Namujehe, the immediate past Guild President of UCU Kampala Campus, said Agaba, who was her predecessor, was a tolerant, humble, hardworking and committed leader.
Namujehe said Agaba often lit up the mood at the campus with his comedy. “Even as he read his manifesto, he was comical,” she said of the son of Jane Agaba and the late Godfrey Agaba from Kabale district in southwestern Uganda.
Before joining UCU, Agaba acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at Makerere University. At UCU, he studied in the Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration program.
Now that he has found his way onto the staff list of a major broadcaster in Uganda, Agaba says he will use the opportunity to further nurture his love for communication.
By Derrick Brian Muduku
The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), in a bid to quicken their citizen registration and certification activities, have recruited at least 50 graduate interns from Uganda Christian University (UCU).
Under this apprenticeship, the interns will support the digital registration of citizens, who later will be granted National Identification Cards. This is hands-on training that the University has embraced as beneficial to its students, the institution itself, and the Mukono community at large.
“We thank NIRA for allowing us to be the pioneers of this project that will cut across to other universities,” said Bridget Mugume K. Mugasira, the Director of Student Affairs at UCU,
She added that this project is UCU and NIRA’s corporate social responsibility because it is not only benefitting University students, but pupils from primary and secondary schools within Mukono municipality.”
NIRA camped at the UCU old football pitch on Monday, 03 December, to start their activities. Besides registration for National Identification cards (ID), they are also offering: replacement of lost IDs, birth certificates, checking status quo of IDs pending issuance, sensitization on the services of NIRA, etc.
This will go on for the next two weeks, after which, a major launch of the project will happen, and see it spread to other universities as well.
Gilbert Kadilo, the NIRA Manager of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs noted that while the graduate interns are helping to cover a human resource gap, they will also learn valuable skills.
“We decided to identify these students, train them and engage them to do the work. We do not have enough resources readily available to do all this work on our own,” he said.
Kadilo emphasised the importance of a National ID to Ugandan youth in regard with the current times.
“There are young Ugandans who have never registered for an ID. We are here to ensure that they get their cards because they need them,” he said.
He also commended UCU for accepting to host the activity, given the ongoing serious health and security concerns.
“UCU was quick to welcome the initiative, which I believe is part of their character and we appreciate it,” said Kadilo.
Over 150 students applied for the opportunity, but only 50 were selected based on geographical proximity to the registration center, academic performance and flexibility among others.
By Ian Asabo
The UCU Canons defeated the Namugongo Blazers, 61-58, in a closely contested final, to win the first “Invite” basketball tournament held at the YMCA court in Wandegeya. The winner, ‘Canons’ walked away with the sum of Shs 2m while the runner-up took home the sum of Shs 1.5m.
Bbaale Fayed was voted MVP of the tournament, after a unanimous verdict by the panel of judges highlighting his impressive basketball skills showcased during the game.
Head Coach Nicholas Natuhereza was glad that his team won the tournament and is excited for what the team can achieve the following year. “Glad we were the last team standing. All the hard work paid off. We are looking forward to what we can do next year” he says.
The team was able to maintain a 100% percent record in the tournament by winning all their games against tricky opponents including the Falcons and the UPDF Tomahawks.
Team captain Titus Lual praised the resilience of his team to be able to bounce back and win the final since they were behind at halftime.
“I am proud of the way we showed our champion instinct after we were down at the half. We showed character and I am proud of the guys that we were able to come back and win the game,” he says.
He also singled out praise for the MVP Bbaale Fayed and credited his victory to the hard work that he puts in on a daily basis.“ He is the deserved winner of the award. This is proof that when you work hard, you are always rewarded regardless,” he continues.
One UCU Canons fan stated that the continued investment in the sports sector at Uganda Christian University (UCU) is one of the main reasons why the team is excelling every time they step on the court. “The investment in the sports team administration and good coaching set up will make the team continue to succeed every time they step on the court, case in point is redesigning of the courts,” says Timothy Owor.
Six teams which included: Takan Lokeris, UCU Canons, Betway Power, Falcons participated in the inaugural tournament, which the sponsors having a view of making it an annual tournament.
Betway Power general manager Allan Musoke hopes for more tournaments as well as having some games on Friday evenings.
“We are hoping that as the tournaments continue. We can also have Friday night games so that we can expand the tourney. It will however remain invitational and we will allow teams to explore other playing options,” said Musoke.
The tournament was organized by NBL club Betway Power alongside sponsors like Rwenzori and Club Pilsner was in memory of those who had an impact on the game, but are now passed to glory.
By Derrick Muduku
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs, Rev. Dr. John Kitayimbwa has called on the First-year university (UCU) to live according to God’s will as they start their educational journey.
Dr. John Kitayimbwa made the remarks during the induction ceremony of the first-year students that happened on Thursday, 23 November 2021. The students came from the Faculties/ Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Surgery, and Law. With the aid of their Deans, the students took their oaths with Dr. John Kitayimbwa presiding over the process.
Dr. Kitayimbwa highlighted that UCU is Christ-centered and will continue to thrive in that aspect. “Welcome to UCU, where we shamelessly start lectures with prayer. That will not change. We are proud of it and will always uphold It,” he said. He invited the new students to embrace Christian living and seek communion with Jesus Christ as the LORD and savior of their lives.
He further assured the students that they will excel at the university if they work hard. “There are no miracles. Miracles are for young children. You have to strive to earn what you deserve,” he said.
Dr. Godwin Awio, the Director of the Kampala Campus expressed his delight at receiving the new students. “We are ready to equip these students with the necessary skills to go out there and influence the world in a positive way,” he said.
Suzan Nasaga, a first-year student pursuing Bachelors’s in Dental Surgery says she is enjoying the conducive environment at the Kampala Campus.
“Initially, I wanted to go to the Main Campus but I don’t regret coming here, this place is a breath of fresh air,” she said. She is excited about the bright future she hopes UCU is paving for her. “By the time I finish studying here, I am sure that I shall be able to practice dentistry and reap from it,” she added.
The induction ceremony at Uganda Christian University is a re-occurring event where new students at the Campus take an oath and are introduced to the values and guiding principles prescribed by the institution.
By Ivan Tsebeni
After a hotly contested race, Sima Liisa has been enthroned Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) Guild Speaker, with Aman Sabiti as her Deputy. Sima polled 10 votes beating her closest rival Abigail Dawn Ampumuza who scored a total number of 8 votes. This happened in the rerun after the first poll ended in a draw where both candidates garnered 7, with Mark Kezaala trailing with 5 votes.
The elections were presided over by the outgoing Guild Speaker of the 23rd Parliament, Calvin Olupot Bahati. The electorates were the newly elected Guild Members of Parliament.
The first parliamentary session was held at Internation Christian Medical Institute (ICMI) hall opposite the Guild Canteen, at the UCU main campus, shortly after the swearing-in ceremony.
The new parliamentary bosses, Sima and Sabiti were thereafter sworn in and handed over instruments of power including the guild constitution, rules of procedure, and regalia.
“The fact that I won, there is no doubt, all people voted for me and I am ready to work with all of them. The expectations are high, fears and uncertainties exist but together we should build friendship, mend the bridges and work together, ” Sima said after assuming office.
The deputy-speaker elect, Mr. Sabiti acknowledged the need to ensure the independence of the parliament as one arm of the government saying it is what he will focus on during his tenure.
“I am willing to serve the people. I want to instill the aspect of independence and working within the guild constitution in order to reap the maxim harvest,” Sabiti said in an interview.
This was the first seating of the 24th Guild government after it was voted in on November 24, 2021. It is the first-ever activity that followed the swearing-in that happened earlier in the day at Nkoyoyo Hall. During this, the congregation witnessed the new Guild President Ms. Racheal Mirembe Sserwadda and her officials take the oath.
It should be recalled that Sserwadda is the third female Guild President after Blessed Murungi in 2014 and Prisca Amongin in 2016. Sserwadda will officially receive instruments of power on December 18.
The guild Parliament is expected to sit and approve new Guild ministers who by press time had not been identified by Guild President.