The curtains came down on the fourth and final session of the 69th Graduation Ceremony of Makerere University held on Friday, 18th January 2019, after the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma conferred degrees and awarded diplomas to graduands from the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) and the School of Law (LAW).  Notable among the graduands were; the former Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda Steven Kavuma; who graduated with a Degree of Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies, Deputy Police Spokesperson, Polly Namaye; with a Degree of Master of Arts in Journalism and Communication, former Member of Parliament for Rubaga South Division Hon. John Ken Lukyamuzi; with the Bachelor of Laws and 14 pioneer students of the Master of Arts in Defence and Security Studies.

CEDAT Graduands pose for a group photo in front of the CEDAT new building

The Chancellor congratulated all graduands upon reaching the important milestone in their academic journey. He also thanked the leadership and staff of Makerere Universityfor the great work in training the wide range of professionals in the humanities and social sciences, law, engineering, architecture, medicine, fine art and design.

I am sure you will all agree with me that it takes a great deal of effort and time to train and graduate over 13,000 graduands including PhDs and Masters Degrees. You have done excellently to prepare these students,” said Prof Suruma.

He called upon staff, students and the entire community of Makerere to be of high moral integrity. According to Prof. Suruma, if the meaning and value of education is to endure, then the record of each and every student must be an accurate and a true reflection of his or her actual performance.  

It is simply unacceptable to compromise on the moral integrity of the university. Anyone who participates in any way in falsifying the academic records of the university is an enemy and must be treated as such,’ he said.

He urged students, parents, faculty, alumni, government, media and the public at large to fight all forms of fraud, falsification and immorality in the university.

“My late brother, Dr. Livingstone Byarugaba used to ask me: ‘Do you need a torch to see the sun?’  Now I beg to ask you my brothers and sisters, do we need to be reminded that every time we push for a false mark or grade for a child or student who is not qualified, we are hurting ourselves? Who benefits when we increase or multiply unqualified doctors, pharmacists, teachers, engineers and pilots in the society?” asked the Chancellor.

He appealed to every Ugandan to take a stand and fight for the good of the country when he said, “wherever you find yourself, take a stand for what is right. Be a candle in the darkness and save our country for our children and our grandchildren. Charity begins at home. Education without integrity will not protect you and it will not protect Uganda. It will continue to kill and the future will get worse. Once our enemies realize our internal weaknesses it will not take them long to destroy us.”

He applauded the Vice Chancellor, Management and the ceremonies committee for the successful preparations for the 69th Graduation Ceremony.

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, reiterated the need for staff and students to observe discipline in the university.  According to Prof Nawangwe, the biggest obstacle to Africa’s development is indiscipline of the country’s elite.

I wish to thank H.E. the President, the First Lady and Hon. Minister of Education and Sports and the members of the public for their support of the measures taken by Council and Management to improve discipline among students and members of staff at Makerere University. No University can fully utilize her potential in an environment where indiscipline, abuse and impunity prevail,” he remarked.

To the graduands Prof. Nawangwe said, “as you leave the gates of Makerere University, remember that you are now on your own. You will succeed in life if you put a few ideals ahead of you. These are self-discipline, respect for self and others, love for your Country and love for God. The opportunities out there are immense, but only the disciplined will find them.”

He reminded graduands to take note of the President’s pledge to support organized groups of graduates with seed funding to start businesses. He also unveiled his idea of establishing a Makerere University Student Employment Liaison Desk in the Office of the Vice Chancellor. This Desk, he said, will coordinate employment opportunities for students within and outside the University.

“The Country is yearning for jobs for our young people and everybody will be looking at you to prove the worth of your education. With a Makerere degree, you have no right not to succeed. The World is yours for the taking and it is only you to deny yourself of the opportunities out there,” he said.