KAMPALA — The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and administration has officially handed over office to the incoming Ag. DVCFA Dr. Josephine Nabukenya at a ceremony presided over by the Chairperson of Makerere Council Mrs. Lorna Magara.
The event was guided by the Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda and witnessed by the Chairperson Finance, Planning, Administration and Investment Committee (FPAIC) of Council-Mr. Bruce Kabaasa, the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-Dr. Umar Kakumba, Members of University Management and Prof. Bazeyo’s family.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor paid tribute to Prof. Bazeyo for the tremendous achievements registered which made his own job very easy.
“One of Prof. Bazeyo’s tremendous achievements has been to move the University out of huge debt, with the most outstanding one; the In-House benefits scheme, almost completely settled,” remarked Prof. Nawangwe.
He also commended Prof. Bazeyo for his negotiation skills, which enabled the University to secure the Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) from the Government of Uganda. Mak-RIF is the first of its kind Government funding dedicated purely to supporting research and innovations at Makerere University, and is open to competitive bidding by any member of staff.
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the outgoing DVCFA for his exemplary service and accepting to continue chairing the inaugural Grants Management Committee (GMC) of Mak-RIF. This selflessness, he noted would help Makerere to become a truly research-led university.
The Vice Chancellor equally expressed gratitude that Prof. Bazeyo was handing over to Dr. Nabukenya who is known for her steadfastness, prolific research and grant winning abilities. “Dr. Nabukenya has been very responsive when called upon to serve on various University Committees and we pledge to continue according you all the necessary support until a substantive DVCFA is appointed.”
In his handover speech, Prof. William Bazeyo thanked God for the negotiation and other skills that have enabled him to be a contribution to Makerere University right from his date of appointment on 23rd August 1993 until he attained the mandatory retirement age on 22nd June 2017. Now serving on a post-retirement contract valid until May 2021, Prof. Bazeyo shared that these skills had enabled him to transform the School of Public Health (MakSPH) from being virtually unknown to the second-best School of Public Health on the African continent.
Speaking about what motivated him to take up the role of DVCFA, Prof. Bazeyo outlined; the Media coverage of Makerere’s indebtedness, need to achieve research-led status, need to improve staff remuneration, unpaid retirement benefits and the absence of an institutional grants policy as some of the challenges that spurred him on.
“On the research front, I am glad to say that today, we have 595 project groups concurrently engaged with full funding by Government under Mak-RIF. And whereas Government had initially committed to avail this funding for only five years, they are now willing to funding every financial year having seen Makerere’s demonstrated capacity,” Prof. Bazeyo said.
Addressing Dr. Nabukenya, the outgoing Ag. DVCFA said, “I have never seen an office as challenging as this but the fact that I have tried means that you too can do the same through initiatives like strategic planning, participatory budgeting and a host of others as outlined in my handover report. I pledge that I will be available to introduce you and support you where you need me.”
In conclusion, Prof. Bazeyo thanked the Chairperson and Members of Council for entrusting him with the role of DVCFA and Prof. Nawangwe for always listening to his proposals and offering much-needed guidance.
He thanked Dr. Kakumba for always speaking honestly and Dr. Eria Hisali for continually stepping-in to act on his behalf whenever he was out of office. Prof. Bazeyo equally thanked rest of the members of Management for their support throughout his term of office and staff in the Office of the DVCFA for enabling him to serve efficiently.
In her acceptance speech, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya thanked the University Council for giving her the opportunity to act as DVCFA, a role she pledged to use wisely. “I thank the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara, Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and all members of Management for being part of this handover ceremony. I am humbled to be assigned the role of next Acting DVCFA, a great responsibility and at the same time, a great honour.”
She paid tribute to her predecessor Prof. Bazeyo for the achievements registered during his term of leadership and for not losing sight of his goals especially in research, despite the challenges faced. She attributed this to Prof. Bazeyo’s passion for Makerere University, which has been a good driving force during his three years in office.
Dr. Nabukenya nevertheless made appealed to her outgoing colleague to continue working with the institution to cement the successes that had been registered during his term. She pledged to work hand in hand with her colleagues in Top Management to ensure that several projects currently being undertaken such as automation of services are accomplished.
In her remarks, the Chairperson Council thanked Prof. William Bazeyo for his selfless service to Makerere University, especially for his role in spearheading negotiations with Government to secure the remainder of funds owed to the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS). Mrs. Magara noted that the University Council is still looking forward to working with Prof. Bazeyo in various capacities.
Turning to Dr. Nabukenya, the Chairperson noted that the University Council celebrates her as a woman who has ascended to a top position of University Management. She nevertheless noted that Dr. Nabukenya’s prolific record made her a good candidate for the position. “Drawing on the gender card was never a necessity in considering your candidature because your past attainments in research and especially automation made you a perfect fit for the role.”
Quoting Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold”, Mrs. Magara urged Dr. Nabukenya focus on leaving a legacy in Makerere University because her legacy would outlive her. She added that Council’s expectations of the DVCFA role are high but nevertheless expressed confidence that Dr. Nabukenya would deliver as much as Prof. Bazeyo had and hopefully, exceed expectations.
The Chairperson noted that whereas the University aspires to be research-led, the institution should not conduct research just for the sake. “Our drive must be to conduct research that responds to the National Development Agenda” remarked Mrs. Magara before posing a question, “What do we need to do to ensure that Makerere becomes the Think Tank for the National Development Agenda?”
She concluded her remarks by pledging the University Council’s and her personal support to the new Ag. DVCFA and urged Dr. Nabukenya to stay focused on her duties.
Members of Management also present included the University Librarian-Dr. Helen Byamugisha, University Bursar-Mr. Evarist Bainomugisha, Director Estates and Works Directorate-Eng. Christina Kakeeto, Director Internal Audit-Mr. Walter Yorac Nono, Ag. Director Legal Affairs-Mr. Hudson Musoke, Representing the Ag. Director Human Resources-Mr. Deus Mujuni Tayari and other officials.