The President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has launched The Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre at Makerere University. The Centre is a collaboration between Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute. It is premised on the concept of Ekyooto, a Luganda word for a fireplace where elders, or distinguished opinion leaders, sat and passed on their wisdom, and celebrated the legacy of those that were still alive or those that had passed on.
According to Prof. Edward K. Kirumira, Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), also Board Chairman, The Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre will develop a lasting legacy for learning and leadership development in Uganda and on the African Continent. It will establish a link between lived experiences of leaders and ideologies to creatively deliver a world-class sustainable and coordinated regional approach to experiential learning and leadership development. Other activities will include promotion of a community of academic expertise and youth engagement in governance and leadership in Africa; supporting and mentoring young leaders, early career scholars and practitioners to actively contribute to evidence-based research; as well as organizing presidential lectures and seminar series on leadership to offer a unique opportunity for distinguished leaders to provide leadership and mentoring as part of the cross generational transmission of values.
Makerere University has allocated a historical building, a wooden house on Pool Road opposite Stanbic Bank and the space around it to accommodate the Centre. Renovation and construction of a modern structure for the centre is estimated to cost UGX4.5 billion. During the launch held on 6th October 2018 in the University Main Hall, Prof. Kirumira thanked the President for his commitment towards the initial capitalization of the Centre activities.
In his inaugural lecture, the President paid glowing tribute to Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. “Nyerere worked for unity and fought for the independence of East African countries. He was willing to put on hold the independence of Tanzania until Uganda and Kenya were liberated. He fought for democracy and was a strong advocate for the political and economic integration of East Africa. He ensured strategic security and guarded the African heritage. Indeed Mwalimu Nyerere scored a hundred percent in all his struggles to liberate East Africa and the African Continent in general,” the President noted.
The President explained that although the African continent derives pride in being the origin of humanity, a pioneer of civilization and also being blessed with abundant natural resources, the continent has suffered several setbacks in the last 500 years putting it and her people behind all other continents in terms of development. He implored academicians to conduct deeper research on problems hindering the prosperity of Africa.
The Executive Director of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Mr. Joseph W. Butiku described Nyerere as a principled and honest leader who worked hard for unity and prosperity of the people of East Africa.
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, thanked the President for championing the establishment of The Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre. “I thank you Your Excellency for not only being the one to light the Ekyooto but also adding the first piece of firewood. We are confident that as more gallant patriots add their pieces, the Ekyooto will grow in size and influence and prove to the whole world that Makerere University has been and still is the alma mater of revolutionary, transformative and influential alumni,” he stated.
The Makerere University Tanzanian Students Association (MUTASA) represented by Mr. Stephen Helbert Gowele and Ms. Nchilla John Veronica thanked the President for providing them an opportunity to access quality education in Uganda. They however expressed dismay over the inconveniences they experience in the process of securing visa to Uganda. The students presented gifts to the President in appreciation of his support.
The President also received gifts from Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute in appreciation of his support towards the establishment of the Centre.
The event was organized by the Board of the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre in collaboration with State House. Members of the Board include, Prof. Kirumira (Chairman), Dr Suzie Nansozi Muwanga from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Makerere University as well as Prof. Gerald Karyeija and Dr. S. Kasozi – Mulindwa from Uganda Management Institute.
The event was attended by among others, dignitaries from the Governments of Uganda and Tanzania, members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives from Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s family and Foundation, members of Council and Management from both Makerere University and Uganda Management Institute as well as staff and students.
Who is Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere
In a citation read by Dr. Sallie Simba Kayunga at the launch, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was described as a giant of the African independence struggle and one of Africa’s most respected politicians.
Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born on April 13, 1922 in Butiama, on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria in Northwest Tanganyika. His father was the chief of the small Zanaki tribe. He was 12 before he started school (he had to walk 26 miles to Musoma to do so). Later, he moved to Tabora Government Secondary School. His intelligence was quickly recognized by the Roman Catholic fathers who taught him. He went on, with their help, to train as a teacher at Makerere University in Kampala (Uganda). On gaining his Certificate, he taught for three years and then went on a government scholarship to study history and political economy for his Master of Arts at the University of Edinburgh (he was the first Tanzanian to study at a British university and only the second to gain a university degree outside Africa). In Edinburgh, partly through his encounter with Fabian thinking, Nyerere began to develop his particular vision of connecting socialism with African communal living.
On his return to Tanganyika, Nyerere was forced by the colonial authorities to make a choice between his political activities and his teaching. He was reported as saying that he was a schoolmaster by choice and a politician by accident. Working to bring a number of different nationalist factions into one grouping he achieved this in 1954 with the formation of TANU (the Tanganyika African National Union). He became President of the Union (a post he held until 1977), entered the Legislative Council in 1958 and became chief minister in 1960. A year later Tanganyika was granted internal self-government and Nyerere became premier. Full independence came in December 1961 and he was elected President in 1962.
Nyerere’s integrity, ability as a political orator and organizer, and readiness to work with different groupings was a significant factor in independence being achieved without bloodshed. In this he was helped by the co-operative attitude of the last British governor — Sir Richard Turnbull. In 1964, following a coup in Zanzibar (and an attempted coup in Tanganyika itself) Nyerere negotiated with the new leaders in Zanzibar and agreed to absorb them into the union government. The result was the creation of the Republic of Tanzania.
A committed pan-Africanist, Nyerere provided a home for a number of African liberation movements including the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC) of South Africa, Frelimo when seeking to overthrow Portuguese rule in Mozambique, Zanla (and Robert Mugabe) in their struggle to unseat the white regime in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He also opposed the brutal regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. Following a border invasion by Amin in 1978, a 20,000-strong Tanzanian army along with rebel groups, invaded Uganda.
See below detailed citation.