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BURNING OF MAKERERE IVORY TOWER: It’s Unacceptable, We Have To Establish Whether This Was An Accident Or Foul Play – Muhoozi, I’m Not Surprised, It Was A Matter Of Time – Lawyer Ssemakadde….

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It is a very dark morning for Makerere University and academicians as the iconic Main Administration Building also known as the Ivory Tower caught fire destroying valuable records and property to ashes.

The fire that started at around midnight quickly spread as far as to almost half of the building affecting several offices.

The fire brigade was on ground to fight the raging fire immediately but it was heavy sprouting from the right side of the Building.

“The fire flames are heavy coming through right side of the roof which has sunk in. We all need to pray for the Ivory Tower,” the University tweeted.

The destruction according to the University Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe is unbelievable, but he gave assurance that they are determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible.

The affected building also houses the offices of the Vice Chancellor and student records whereas the basement is full of archived files spanning the whole history of the institution.

According to the university, efforts to save the left wing of the building which houses the Human Resources and staff records of the university were being defeated by the highly powerful flames whose blaze was increased by the wooden furnishings.

This fire comes at a time when the university, like most education institutions, has been in lockdown mode since March 30, 2020.

Several Ugandans have expressed mixed reactions to what really caused the fires in a building that does not house Maama Naki’s kitchen in downtown Kampala. Below are some of the comments:

Briefly about The Ivory Tower

  • The Ivory Tower is perhaps the most iconic of all buildings when one talks of Makerere University.
  • The building proudly stands out as the most magnificent due to its unique early 20th century British architectural design. With its thicker walls and arch designed doors leading into the hundreds of rooms dabbing as offices, the main building is reminiscent of Makerere’s glory in the colonial days.
  • In this wonder of architecture is where Makerere University gets its endearment (or nickname); the Ivory Tower.
  • Constructed in 1930s, the T-Shaped main administration building was designed basing on the architectural design of Britain’s prestigious University of London.
  • Located in the centre and top of Makerere Hill ridge, the Main Building stands out as the most authoritative architectural piece at the university campus.
  • The Freedom Square and University Road are right in front of the main building in the east.
  • Erecting such an elegant state of the art building required so much sacrifice. According to writer Margret Macpherson, in her book: They Built for the Future, construction of the main building began in early 1930s and dragged on up to 1941 due to difficulties caused the Second World War.
  • The war interfered with importation of all construction materials that were to be shipped right from Europe. In fact, due to challenges posed by this war, especially scarcity of the much needed finance, other materials like doors were made locally in the Makerere College’s workshop. This is probably why the doors in the main building look dull in spite of the building’s spectacular exterior appearance.

By Baron Kironde

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CRIME

She Is Mentally Disturbed – Gayaza High School Speaks Out On Female Student Who Was Caught Night Dancing Naked…

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Ms. Kizito Robinah Katongole, the headteacher Gayaza High School has in a public statement clarified on the incident where a girl from the same school was reportedly caught night dancing at the school premises.

“Gayaza High School has learnt and noted with concern the sociall media publications of a video clip and photographs posted yesterday alleging the improper conduct of one of our students,” partly reads the awareness statement.

The letter from Gayaza HS headteacher

The Gayaza High School headteacher strongly repudiated popular reports making rounds on various media platforms that the incident happened at the school’s premises.

She however also acknowledged that the pictures and video evidence of the accused female are indeed those of a figure synonymous with the school, having once studied and left the same school over years ago.

“Gayaza High School would like to clarify that the incident did not happen at the school. We have also established that the pictures show a former student who finished S6 in 2014 and has since her University days suffered mental health challenges,” described the statement by the high school’s headteacher.

She added that the school is stringing together efforts to get in touch with her parents to ensure that she gets the necessary medical attention.

“We deeply sympathize with the family and pray that all efforts to restore her mental health materialises,” she added.

By Baron Kironde

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EDUCATION

Embracing New Normal? UCU Students To Choose New Leaders By E-mail In A Scientifically Arranged Guild Election….

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Uganda Christian University (UCU) has embarked on the process of conducting students’ guild elections using its own e-voting application named ‘e-Chagua,’ conjoined from a Kiswahili word meaning ‘choose’. Such an election will be the first ever of it’s kind in the Ugandan Universities Guild elections set up.

The university is expected to conduct the voting exercise on November 16. The submission of applications by students interested in various positions starts on October 19th to 23rd to allow the vetting process commence.

According to Bridget Mugasira Mugume the Director of Student Affairs, all is set for the exercise that starts today with nominations which will be followed by online campaigns.

She says online elections will not only ensure students’ safety from Covid-19, but also enable the university to save the huge sums of money usually spent on normal elections.

“The application also aims at reducing the time and costs spent during the election process. At the main campus alone, about 35 million Shillings is spent on logistics and the entire process of electing student leaders,” Mugasira said, disclosing that this term’s election budget is most likely to drop down to 19 million.

The students are to vote using their e-mail accounts.

The Chairperson of the guild Electoral Commission Boss John Bruce has assured students of a free and fair election.

The University shall conduct its general campaigns using various online platforms used for conducting studies and then also a debate for guild presidents to be conducted on television.

Since the University has resumed studies online, it cannot deliberate students matters without their representatives on the various university administrative bodies as required by the National Council for Higher Education regulations.

The current students’ council term is ending this month and most of its members are finalists. The Director of Students Affairs-DOSA Bridget Mugasira says the university is fortunate to have invested in developing the online voting app which is now ready to allow the entire student fraternity participate in the exercise.

UCU Web and e-learning Administrator Edwin Byarugaba explains that the e-voting system is designed with a voter’s registers section where student details are recorded and once the student is on a voter’s register, the system accepts him to generate a password to login and vote once.

Byarugaba says that the app has been tested through a sample election of theology college representatives where it turned out successful. The system can allow about 10,000 students participate at ago.

He further notes that it has been approved and accepted by the university council and the current students’ guild council. It shall be accessed by all students using MTN lines at a zero rate.

About 8,000 students are expected to participate in the election process. Elections for leaders at the main campus and Kampala campus shall be conducted first and then other campuses the following week.

 

By Baron Kironde

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EDUCATION

I’m Still Waiting For Professor Baryamureeba’s Ugandan Made Computer – M7 Calls For A Change In The Education System…

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Professor Baryamureeba (L) and President Museveni (R)

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday engaged teachers at State House Entebbe during the National Celebrations of the International Teachers’ Day.

He congratulated them upon reaching the milestone, and commended the teachers for a job well done.

Museveni emphasised government’s core position towards improving the salaries of teachers, health workers, soldiers and government scientists. “I need you the people to talk to your MPs to agree with this,” he said.

The president also revealed that he is very much aware of the salary disparities among government workers where some are taking home so much, while others are earning so little. He said that the Unified Salaries Board shall have a review to that to address the matter.

Museveni urged teachers all over the country and the Ministry of Education to tailor a system that is synonymous to the needs of the people. “We should teach what will help Uganda and Africa move forward,” he said.

“One time I called Professor Venancius Baryamureeba, yes, that one who was at Makerere University. I said to him that since you are a serious computer wizard/Scientist, please make for us one computer. Up to now, he has never gotten back to me,” Museveni mockingly stated, citing a need of change in the education system.

“This is because the pre-colonial education trains children to use other people’s computers rather than making their own. In light of this year’s theme and the pandemic effects, it is the time for teachers to reimagine the future and lead us through this crisis,” he added.

Speaking about the Pandemic, Museveni noted that in the 7 months that it has prevailed, he has not heard that a child has died from Corona Virus. “However much some may have got pregnant which is indeed terrible, but at least they did not die, death is irreversible,” he added.

As the scheduled days for reopening schools near, the president warned against the consistent complacency by people and communities, he called upon the transporters to observe SOPs such that school going children can be transported safely.

“To everyone in Uganda, please be inspectors of COVID compliance in the transport sector. If someone is not following the regulations, you can boycott them. All this is to protect our children,” Museveni advised.

He further warned that teachers should also be careful as they move from home to school. He suggested that if possible, schools can have an arrangement to accommodate teachers at school since there will be enough space as only candidate classes will be using the school.

Meanwhile for the rest of the children home, Museveni promised that every family will get a radio to enable long distance learning. “I know many have lambasted this program, yes it might not be perfect, but has some advantages, for instance; One good teacher can be shared by many students who were not in his school. Also it is better than dying,” he noted.

According to Museveni, he ranked Uganda as number 1 in the whole world in the fight against COVID 19.

 

By Baron Kironde

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