Former UCU guild president and Partners-sponsored student is newly elected alumni leader

Wabwire sensitizing the youth about their rights in the Kampala suburbs in a campaign designed by Faraja Africa. Photo/Faraja Media Team.

Wabwire sensitizing the youth about their rights in the Kampala suburbs in a campaign designed by Faraja Africa. Photo/Faraja Media Team.

By Lule Eriah
It is not the first time that Wabwire Emmanuel’s name is being etched on the annals of Uganda Christian University (UCU). From 2012-2013, Wabwire was the university’s guild president as he pursued a Bachelor’s in Development Studies. 

When he left the university in 2013, if some people thought it was the end of his relationship with the institution, they were wrong. On March 5, 2021, Wabwire renewed his leadership relationship with UCU, when he assumed another role – chairperson of the UCU Alumni Association.

Those who have been close to Wabwire narrate how the 30-year-old has been a leader throughout his life. To close associates, Wabwire’s victory in the polls is simply one more testament to the fact that he never tires from service. 

Wabwire is currently the Gold Award Winner of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, a non-formal education and learning youth program currently operating in more than 130 countries. The awards were founded in the UK in 1956 by the late Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Wabwire during the alumni presidential debate held early this year.
Wabwire during the alumni presidential debate held early this year.

Wabwire, a holder of a Master’s in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Milan, is currently the Executive Director of Faraja Africa Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that deals in digital story-telling and youth leader-mentorship.

Former students speak glowingly of Wabwire’s tenure as UCU guild president. 

“He created a bridge between student leadership and the administration, which was quite a hard thing to do during that time,” Ronald Awany, a former student and now a communications assistant at UCU, says.

But that was then. Now, Wabwire said he wants to establish a leadership and business incubator for both UCU alumni and the entire UCU community. He intends to use the incubator to mobilize resources in order to avail UCU alumni, among other beneficiaries, loans and/ or grants for businesses. 

Besides his impeccable leadership background, Wabwire also credits his tech savviness for giving him an edge over his competitors in the race for the alumni association chairperson. The campaigns were digital and the elections online, through the E-Chagua – an online voting application created by the university’s ICT department. Eligible voters would receive links through their email addresses registered prior to the voting day and, follow it to vote for the candidate of their choice. 

Daphine Kumakune, the alumni office administrator, says voter sensitization and calls for voter registration were done on different social media platforms and reminders sent through emails to active members.

“I know it was a low turn-up, but, still, I was very sure of victory because I had campaigned very well and my voters knew what I had in my manifesto,” Wabwire said. 

Background
Wabwire is the third of four children of Henry Nicholas Wabwire from Mbale in eastern Uganda.  Growing up from a simple, God-fearing background, Wabwire’s spirit for leadership erupted at a tender age. 

“I have been a leader from nursery school, where I was the class monitor. In primary school, I was a prefect and eventually became the head prefect,” he says. “In secondary school, I held many leadership positions in school clubs. However, the highest of them all was deputy head prefect.” 

From 2008-2009, he worked with the Red Cross as the National Youth Council Treasurer for Mbale district. Later, in the same organization, he was assigned to lead the task force that oversaw rescue and rehabilitation at the occurrence of a major landslide that had left many homeless in Bududa and Butaleja districts, in the eastern Uganda. He was also the District General Secretary for the Uganda National Students Association for Mbale district.

Wabwire believes his service with Red Cross tickled his soft spot for charity work. “Initially, I wanted to be a lawyer, but after the Red Cross experience, I changed my mind into community service and social work,’’ Wabwire said, noting that the change of mind shifted his interest to development studies.

Like it usually is with many students, Wabwire struggled financially. During one of the semesters, he had failed to raise tuition fees. However, Uganda Partners was at hand to intervene.

 “But I was saved by Uganda Partners, which topped up sh500,000 (about $137) on my tuition,” Wabwire said. “And I give them credit for their support toward students,” he added. 

For now, we wait to see the fruits of Wabwire’s business incubator idea that he plans to implement during his term of office.

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