On Friday, 12th December, 2014, Makerere University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Defence to formalise its collaboration with the Senior Command and Staff College (KIMAKA). The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Mbuya. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the Head Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Dr Suzie Nansozi Muwanga and the Senior Legal Officer, Mr Goddy Muhumuza, signed on behalf of Makerere University whereas the Ministry was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Rosette Byengoma.
The ceremony was witnessed by the top brass of the UPDF and members of staff from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Makerere University.
In her address, the Defence Permanent Secretary said the affiliation of the College to Makerere University was a landmark achievement towards the Ministry’s vision of professionalising and modernising the Force. “Through this affiliation, we expect to achieve qualitative career development of our senior officers for the effective discharge of their duties. It is a milestone that will no doubt elevate the status of the academic programmes offered at the College,” she said. The qualifications offered by the College through the affiliation will be equated to a Masters of Arts Degree and Defence Studies.
Mrs Byengoma said the affiliation will further enhance the troops’ visibility in the labour market and provide them access to opportunities even after retirement from active military service.
She commended Makerere University for the unequivocal support provided to the Ministry over the years. She specifically acknowledged the support rendered by Dr S.K. Simba from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration since the inception of the College in 2004.
The Commandant of the Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka, Lt. Gen. Andrew Guti, said the signing of the MoU was not only an enhancement of a strong civil-defence partnership as enshrined in the Defence Review Transformation but also a landmark for the College to achieve its mission and objectives. “The Award of a Masters of Arts in Defence and Security Studies of Makerere University will put the College on the same footing with other sister colleges in the region and beyond,” he said.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, expressed gratitude to the government, particularly the Ministry of Defence and the UPDF for allowing Makerere University to shape the Defence Policy of the country and to participate in the professionalization of the UPDF. “I recall in 2002, Makerere University was honoured to participate in the Defence Review Process. Three of our members of staff namely; the late Assoc. Prof. Lakiidi Ochaya, Assoc. Prof. Phillip Kasaija Apuuli and Prof. Elijah Mushemeza participated in the process. Again in 2004, when the Senior Command and Staff College became functional, Makerere University was invited by the Commandant, Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreeta, to participate in the teaching of some courses. Since that time, through the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, we have been able to execute this function with full dedication,” he explained.
He pledged that Makerere University would fulfil its obligations as outlined in the MoU.
In the MOU, Makerere University will offer a course to UPDF officers leading to the Award of a Masters Degree in Defence and Security Studies.
The idea of the Senior Command and Staff College was mooted by H.E the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces much earlier but was made public in 2000. In 2001, the President pledged to professionalise the UPDF. Against this background, the Defence Review was commissioned. The objective of the Defence Review Transformation was to create, transform, modernise and professionalise the National Defence Capability that can achieve the Defence Missions described in the White Paper on Defence Transformation in 2004. Uganda’s vision for Defence Transformation is based on two pillars; A modern and professional defence force; And a strong civil-defence partnership. Pursuant to these pillars, the Senior Command and Staff College was established in 2004. The immediate need then was to offload the backlog of those officers that had acquired ranks through the noble struggle to liberate the country. Since its establishment, and in pursuit of its mission and objectives, the Senior Command and Staff College has developed and maintains close relationship with local and international academic institutions. The backlog has reduced and the College is now running the 10th intake of a new breed of young, energetic and well educated officers.