By Pauline Luba
Dr. Erisa Kigenyi Mazaki, the new Principal of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mbale University College, was twice “acting” in the role over the past five years.
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The life of UCU’s Dr. Erisa Kigenyi Mazaki
In August 2018, he joined the institution as a full-time staff member. Just four months later, the UCU Vice Chancellor at the time, Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, shocked Kigenyi by appointing him the acting principal of the college. The position holder at the time had retired.
“I was shocked because I thought there were more capable people than I was,” Kigenyi, an ardent teacher, said. “I was wondering why I had been tasked with the responsibility.”
Kigenyi was the acting principal until March 2019, when Mrs. Mary Gichuki Manana joined the college as the substantive head. A year later, last year, when the position fell vacant in November, Dr. Kigenyi was appointed in acting capacity.
In June 2023, the month when Kigenyi was celebrating 50 years of age, he received a notification that he had been appointed as the college’s substantive principal.
For now, his eyes will be focused on ventures to improve the state of the infrastructure of the college, located in Mbale city, eastern Uganda. With improved infrastructure, there is hope that the enrollment and welfare of students at the college will improve.
Last year, the college launched a fundraising drive to raise money for the expansion of the institution’s infrastructure. At the event, more than sh240million (over $64,000) was collected in cash and pledges. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who was represented at the function by Mbale Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Ahamada Washaki, pledged sh200million (about $53,000).
Should any challenges surface during Kigenyi’s tenure as principal, he feels assured of victory. He says his armor is Psalm 121:1-3 “I look up to the mountains, does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth. He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber.”
To deliver results in his new position, the father of three boys and one girl hopes to rely on his ever-present and supportive wife, Janet Kigenyi, in affairs of the home. Her management of family affairs enables him to have a peace of mind at work.
Born in 1973 to Mr. Nsangi Amunoni and Annet Nasiyo, Kigenyi had 10 siblings – three boys and seven girls. He attended North Road Primary School in Mbale city for his primary education and then Bukedi College Kachonga from Senior One to Senior Five. He was unable to return to the school for Senior Six because his father faced financial hardships and could not afford to pay the tuition. Kigenyi was then enrolled at Mbale Progressive School, where he completed Senior Six, emerging as one of the best candidates in the national exams.
The top performance earned Kigenyi a government sponsorship for a Bachelor of Arts with Education at Uganda’s Makerere University. In 1988, Kigenyi graduated as a teacher. Soon after, he teamed up with two colleagues and they started their own school, Mbale Comprehensive High School, where he is still a director. He says teaching and molding students into useful citizens is a satisfying experience.
“Students are the reason teachers like me exist,” he said.
In November 1998, he joined Mbale Secondary School, where he taught until 2012. Here, he was a classroom teacher before being promoted to the position of head of the history department. He was also appointed as the chair of the staff of the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and patron of student leaders in a school of over 4,000 students.
In 2005, Kigenyi joined UCU for post-graduate studies, graduating in 2007 with a Master of Science in Human Resource Management in Education. In 2010, he enrolled for a Post-graduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management at Uganda Management Institute, graduating with a first class in 2011. Two years later, Kigenyi went back to school, enrolling for a PhD in Management Science at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. He graduated in 2017.
Before joining UCU as a full-time staff member in 2018, Kigenyi served the university on a part-time basis for seven years, up to July 2018.