Monday, September 28, 2009

Makerere ring-fencing; the vice is spreading

Some things in this country just keep sucking. With all these parochial calls for districts, tribal interests, ring-fencing, blah blah, one would imagine that the “intellectuals” would rise above this and maybe be the voices of sanity.
But how do you explain this? Makerere University lecturers met last week and voted to have the position of vice chancellor “ring-fenced” for only Ugandans. According to the academic staff association chairperson, Mr Tanga Odoi, they would not recognise a non-Ugandan if s/he assumed the position that falls vacant at the end of the end of next month. Letting a non-Ugandan become vice-chancellor would be equal to “mortgaging” the institution to foreign control, they argued.
So, here they are our elites. These guys have forgotten that in the 21st century, advancing notions synonymous with the early Stone Age just can’t stand. Even in the pre-civilisation era, tribes realised the importance of neighbours—that is why we had cross-kingdom trade. It is why Arabs came to the East African coast and people from the coast scoured the hinterland for goods. Yes, that our forefathers knew no man could be an island—but our modern day academics are yet to imbibe this fact.
What Makerere University needs is fresh, focused leadership that appreciates its problems but importantly has the right work method to help it compete with other institutions at a global level. This kind of leadership does not necessarily have to be home-grown as the Tanga Odois of this world seem to believe.
The world is quickly becoming a global village—and progressive thinking must be outside the box. We can no longer work; behave like we are marooned on an island. It is why even dictators strive to cover their behinds—knowing a Hague exists. It is for the same reason today that surgery can be performed in Uganda but with the expert surgeons sitting somewhere in the US.
Makerere University’s global rankings have received a battering lately because the institution has failed to demonstrate its presence (through publication of research) on the world stage. And this is not a problem that will be resolved by an inward looking leader—as the lecturers are demanding.
To address Makerere’s complex concerns also call for someone with some level of exposure and probably international connections. By seeking to ring-fence the position, lecturers might just be eliminating the right solution to their problems.
Makerere should not exclude people from competing for the post of vice chancellor just because they are non-Ugandan, and similarly, no one should be favoured for the position simply because they are Ugandans. It would only be fair and in the institution’s best interest that all candidates are subjected to the same standards of evaluation and the position offered to the best candidate, Ugandan or not. Kyambogo University went this road—why is Makerere chickening?
I personally know a couple of good brains at that hill, who can help steer Makerere from the knee-deep mud in which it is stuck today. One such person, I believe, is Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba. He has been decorated by over 1001 universities/agencies for his accomplishments in the ICT sector. His faculty has become a role-model of sorts—in the region. But I would not want to imagine that he can become vice chancellor because opposition from without was curtailed on technicalities. Let him, and others like Prof. Ddumba, face competition from other deserving candidates—whether Cameroonian, Kenyan or Malagasy.
I have lately witnessed an injustice take place. A friend—a competent person at their job—lost a job just because they are Kenyan working in Uganda. It looks like as a country, we are embracing xenophobia with alarming interest. But it is boiling down even to our single units—family, clans, tribe, districts etc. That’s why suddenly Banyoro can’t stand Bafuruki, Banyala resent Baganda, Jopadhola ‘hate’ Iteso—and vice versa, etc.
Why are we taking this path?? Why??

5 comments:

wesonga said...

Don, we can as well say that the first-generation descendants of the British colonialists should be allowed to rule us.

Going by the competencies of their offspring in developing South Africa’s infrastructure, they would enable our countries to develop better, right?

Ashindwe!

Higher education is so vital – assuming our universities do as expected and create new ideas et al.

To entrust a country’s interest to foreigners is akin to saying the Boers system, which gave many South Africans the papers but not the knowledge, helped.

I understand, on the authority of a travelled fellow, that there are quite a few South Africans with the papers but not the knowledge. Of course, we also have such folks.

The Boers gave them a raw deal so as to undermine their abilities to perform some tasks – undermine their employability. A foreigner can be wicked.

I am not saying Makerere University should lock out the Professor Mazruis or Professor Taban Lo Liyongs of this world.

Some are good intentioned.

But, why not develop our own capacities to manage our affairs better? Can Americans allow a naturalized folk to join their Secret Services or to contest for their big office- White House?

Muhairwe of National Water is managing well.

In Uganda, some foreigners come with fake egos.

Refer to Monitor Publications Limited’s performance under Conrad Nkutu and then under Tom Mshindi.

The sales were higher under the former. The times during which each served can be debated later.

You will hear some Kenyan students in Ugandan institutions pooh-pooh Uganda’s education system and its caliber of human resource.

But they stay put – like ticks sucking a diseased cow’s blood.

Spurious reasoning, theirs is - because many continue to study in Uganda’s tertiary institutions as well as to train on the job in Uganda.

By the time they find employment back home in Kenya, they will have soaked up a lot from Uganda. Ask Kibaki.

The world is becoming a global village.

Even then, the United States of America and the European Union continue to protect their farmers despite the globalization sermon.

If surgery can be performed in Uganda but with the expert surgeons sitting in the U.S. then let the foreign vice chancellor sit in their home country.

Professor Ali Mazrui served as Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology while at the same time lecturing in the U.S.

Even some of the in-ward looking lecturers have international exposure.

Look at Dr Sallie Simba. But when President Museveni invites and sorts the lecturers out along party lines, Dr Simba forgets that he spent a great deal of time in Denmark.

Decorations? Even Martin Ssempa was decorated. Robert Mugabe , too.

Rather, like Napolean Bonaparte said, be ruled by one lion than by a thousand rats.

Some role models are role models for people without brains to be role models too.

By the way, it is easier for Kenyans to work without work permits in Uganda than it is for Ugandans to work in Tanzania or in Kenya without work permits.

These are double standards.

Actually, Tanzania knows better how to treat the Kenyans, who even where competent locals are available, would rather hire a Kenyan – should I add of certain tribe – unless in that tribe there is a shortage of those skilled persons, or for appeasement’s sake.

We are taking that path because soon even Jesus Christ the Savour will come to save not just everybody but only the faithful. Consider the differences between, say, Banyoro versus the Bafuruki, Jopodhola versus Iteso as rehearsals.

We need to seriously advocate for Makerere University’s administrative, management autonomy.

Otherwise, even with a foreign Vice Chancellor, that foreigner may deliver results as unbelievable as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations' with regard to the cause of Father Kaiser’s death in Naivasha – unacceptable even by local standards.

wesonga said...

Don, we can as well say that the first-generation descendants of the British colonialists should be allowed to rule us.

Going by the competencies of their offspring in developing South Africa’s infrastructure, they would enable our countries to develop better, right?

Ashindwe!

Higher education is so vital – assuming our universities do as expected and create new ideas et al.

To entrust a country’s interest to foreigners is akin to saying the Boers system, which gave many South Africans the papers but not the knowledge, helped.

I understand, on the authority of a travelled fellow, that there are quite a few South Africans with the papers but not the knowledge. Of course, we also have such folks.

The Boers gave them a raw deal so as to undermine their abilities to perform some tasks – undermine their employability. A foreigner can be wicked.

I am not saying Makerere University should lock out the Professor Mazruis or Professor Taban Lo Liyongs of this world.

Some are good intentioned.

But, why not develop our own capacities to manage our affairs better? Can Americans allow a naturalized folk to join their Secret Services or to contest for their big office- White House?

Muhairwe of National Water is managing well.

In Uganda, some foreigners come with fake egos.

Refer to Monitor Publications Limited’s performance under Conrad Nkutu and then under Tom Mshindi.

The sales were higher under the former. The times during which each served can be debated later.

You will hear some Kenyan students in Ugandan institutions pooh-pooh Uganda’s education system and its caliber of human resource.

But they stay put – like ticks sucking a diseased cow’s blood.

Spurious reasoning, theirs is - because many continue to study in Uganda’s tertiary institutions as well as to train on the job in Uganda.

By the time they find employment back home in Kenya, they will have soaked up a lot from Uganda. Ask Kibaki.

The world is becoming a global village.

Even then, the United States of America and the European Union continue to protect their farmers despite the globalization sermon.

If surgery can be performed in Uganda but with the expert surgeons sitting in the U.S. then let the foreign vice chancellor sit in their home country.

Professor Ali Mazrui served as Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology while at the same time lecturing in the U.S.

Even some of the in-ward looking lecturers have international exposure.

Look at Dr Sallie Simba. But when President Museveni invites and sorts the lecturers out along party lines, Dr Simba forgets that he spent a great deal of time in Denmark.

Decorations? Even Martin Ssempa was decorated. Robert Mugabe , too.

Rather, like Napolean Bonaparte said, be ruled by one lion than by a thousand rats.

Some role models are role models for people without brains to be role models too.

By the way, it is easier for Kenyans to work without work permits in Uganda than it is for Ugandans to work in Tanzania or in Kenya without work permits.

These are double standards.

Actually, Tanzania knows better how to treat the Kenyans, who even where competent locals are available, would rather hire a Kenyan – should I add of certain tribe – unless in that tribe there is a shortage of those skilled persons, or for appeasement’s sake.

We are taking that path because soon even Jesus Christ the Savour will come to save not just everybody but only the faithful. Consider the differences between, say, Banyoro versus the Bafuruki, Jopodhola versus Iteso as rehearsals.

We need to seriously advocate for Makerere University’s administrative, management autonomy.

Otherwise, even with a foreign Vice Chancellor, that foreigner may deliver results as unbelievable as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations' with regard to the cause of Father Kaiser’s death in Naivasha – unacceptable even by local standards.

Don said...

Nelson--why the selective acknowledgement when it comes to Mazruis? And like all other "elites" you mistake intellectualism, cleverness--put blantly--as managerial abilities. That is wrong. Reminds me of primary school--and in the seminary--when the brighest students were appointed prefects--only to bungle!!
But on the bigger question--my concern is the increasing movement to the "I"--the resentment for the "other". That is wrong and escapist. It is a primitive and cowardly method of doing business. To imagine that you can "aid" your inefficiencies by thwarting opposition is foolhardy. I would rather have a foreigner manage me well, than one of my own lead me to doom. I think in bringing the preformance of Monitor under Mshindi/Nkutu is to vulgarise this debate. I have do details of the financial standings of the company under the two--but i know that both faced unoque challenges--the former, mainly the shrink in global media industry.
I do not mind a Ugandan becoming Vice chancellor--actually hope one does. But that should not be because we scared off external competition. Just because Kenya and Tanzania do things that way--does not mean we should follow suit. That is the mark between an open mind--and a copy cat!

wesonga said...

The selectiveness was because the list was not meant to be exhaustive.

Did the prefectship take up the prefects' time that they forgot about studies? Or they were 'bright' so that they could become prefect?

Once that was achieved, they reclined to where they belong - bungling class?

Now I know; the United States and the United Kingdom are foolhardy. They are primitive and cowards.

They thwart competition through protecting their farmers - subsidise this, subsidise that.

Mshindi/Nkutu example was not meant to vulgarise the debate. Just giving an example - that is all.

What if one works you up - that Mshindi was at Monitor Publications Limited before the global financial crunch could be felt in Uganda?

OK, the newsprint is imported. Is it from South Africa or Kenya or the United Kingdom?

I don't know. But I am ready to be told. And I will take it well.

It is good to read that you don't mind a Ugandan becoming a Vice Chancellor of Makerere University.

Personally, I think that we should allow the best regardless of their nationalities to manage some of our affairs.

Of course, we caution - lest we end up with Dar-es-Salaam's City Water (a United Kingdom outfit that did not deliver as was expected of foreign management).


And I believe (but I could be mistaken) that the Tanga Odois are not scared of external competition.

If Kenya and Tanzania behave that way, makes our small people question why we continue to be open and our brothers and sisters in the two countries do not reciprocate.

You love Jesus Christ, He loves you back.

That can partly explain why His differences with the Devil continue.

wesonga said...

The selectiveness was because the list was not meant to be exhaustive.

Did the prefectship take up the prefects' time that they forgot about studies? Or they were 'bright' so that they could become prefect?

Once that was achieved, they reclined to where they belong - bungling class?

Now I know; the United States and the United Kingdom are foolhardy. They are primitive and cowards.

They thwart competition through protecting their farmers - subsidise this, subsidise that.

Mshindi/Nkutu example was not meant to vulgarise the debate. Just giving an example - that is all.

What if one works you up - that Mshindi was at Monitor Publications Limited before the global financial crunch could be felt in Uganda?

OK, the newsprint is imported. Is it from South Africa or Kenya or the United Kingdom?

I don't know. But I am ready to be told. And I will take it well.

It is good to read that you don't mind a Ugandan becoming a Vice Chancellor of Makerere University.

Personally, I think that we should allow the best regardless of their nationalities to manage some of our affairs.

Of course, we caution - lest we end up with Dar-es-Salaam's City Water (a United Kingdom outfit that did not deliver as was expected of foreign management).


And I believe (but I could be mistaken) that the Tanga Odois are not scared of external competition.

If Kenya and Tanzania behave that way, makes our small people question why we continue to be open and our brothers and sisters in the two countries do not reciprocate.

You love Jesus Christ, He loves you back.

That can partly explain why His differences with the Devil continue.