OPINION: Bamasaaba of Bugisu demanding for a public university like other regions

The appeal for a full public university in masabaland is coming from all corners of the region and granting masaba_land a fully-fledged public university will be rewarding bugisu for its historical contribution towards the NRA liberation of Uganda

By Steven Masiga

Bugisu region currently lacks a serious voice in national politics and has now become a laughing stock Of all sorts by hitherto former contemporaries like Ankole, Busoga, Kigezi, and Lango among other regions.

Even in the recent cabinet appointments, we settled for feathers as other regions went with chicken, bugisu and for its historical support towards the National resistance movement it has not benefited in equal measure ,the region has never had anybody in public service higher than a commissioner.
There is no known permanent secretary from masabaland,the region has never had a prime minister or vice president like other regions like kabale ,busoga and Buganda including Acholi.

The 2021_cabinet appointments were the worst in its 35 years as a supporter of the NRM government to the extent that Districts that were 100% NRM like bududa are slowly embracing oppositional politics. Sironko which had an only  NRM female legislator also decamped NRM and off to FDC recently during parliamentary elections. There is nobody serous and heavy enough to mobilise the region well , political advisors on the region should quickly bring this trend of events unto the president,s table over issues that hurt the region and chairman mujasi who is rumoured to have been appointed a presidential advisor on bugisu affairs,his appointment comes at the right time and on account of his character he is the right man for the job and he will execute his tasks without reservations he is corrupt free   and candid in nature.

Among the bamasaaba the late Wapakhabulo who was  the highest mumasaaba ever to get closer and work in this government left a very huge gap. Wapakhabulo used to remind people in bugisu on how he had the capacity to chop any part of the National  cake to his side ( bugisu)  as he was among the inner clique,many  people here now reflect on his words with a lot of nostalgia’.and bitterness that he is no more and now many find themselves further isolated  from the system and government and nobody serous that the centre listens to with confidence, anyway he played his role and no need  to distract  our readers by circumlocutions into Wapkhabulo legacy.

Among the recently operationalized cities, Mbale is the only city without a public university , Jinja city has four public universities it has Makerere university branch,two military universities graded as public universities, and now Busoga University. Similarly, Bunyoro region has a new university that was recently flagged off to begin by government of Uganda, and besides the new university, bunyoro already had  Kigumba petroleum institute also graded as a public university due to its degree awarding status.
Generally in Uganda public universities are found in regions of Central Region, Kabale, Bunyoro, Arua, Acholi, Busoga ,Lira region and Teso including Ankole region,.

In Bugisu region the only study centres that  are government owned are Makerere university centre on republic street which began way back in late 1960s,and has trained thousands of parish chiefs in courses of  public administration and administrative law, and Uganda management institute training mostly postgraduate, Makerere University through its  department of community education has tried to fill up the vacuum by taking university education to the people and bringing people to the university

The appeal for a full public university in masabaland is coming from all corners of the region and granting masaba_land a fully-fledged public university will be rewarding bugisu for its historical contribution towards the NRA liberation of Uganda, statistics may have their own defects but one can firmly affirm  that 99% of the locals here are in favour of a public university where students can access free public education paid for by the state.

The region missed out on getting its own ministry just and yet other regions that played similar critical roles towards liberation of Uganda like Luwero and Teso which boast of their own ministries ,thus missing out on a university would dampen the mood of the  locals and this can trigger wrong  political behavior including attracting mockery from the adversaries of the party. To help  justify the revolutionary blood that was shed by young sons and daughters from bugisu the region needs things such as its own ministry and a public university to justify its role in the NRA struggle that brought the current government to power.

The constitution of Uganda is the effect  that failure to treat all regions equally in terms of resource sharing and services. Such conduct may amount to some level of discrimination Art21 and further Art 30 enjoins all citizens to have access to education. Voices for bugisu university are coming from all corners of masabaland from the youths,religious leaders,farmers and politicians including peripheral noises from Fronasa fighters many Fronasa fighters talked to have their own issues with NRM government but that  may be treated as an in-house and I know at an appropriate time they will sort themselves out, however many of this fighters the idea of a public university engenders well with them. As many of the children of the combatants are stuck in villages with no education since some of the parents cannot afford even secondary education fees insists Fronasa chief in Elgon Region  Mr. Yahaya Mukasa.

A public university in masabaland according to him would help the children of departed comrades to access free university education since they as fighters can’t afford university tuition in private universities around town as they have  no known income from government,we kept on fighting from 1974 when I joined Fronasa and we delayed to produce children he insists, a view more less shared by senior superintendent of police Muhammed Tsapwe and NRM chairman aspirant for Bududa  District. Mr tsapwe says it is high time that bugisu is granted its own public university to help children and grandchildren of Fronasa fighters access university education,many of this combatants died in battle and didn’t prepare their files well he insists, some of us crossed from fronasa to Uganda police and here am he observes but not  every one was not that  lucky.

Proposed Location of the university.

The Umukuka 111 of bamasaba designate Mr. Jude Mudoma says there is ready land for the project, especially the army barracks land in bumageni since the army has almost relocated to moroto and other parts of Uganda. Mudoma argues that bumageni army barracks is  afree zone and once granted the university the issue of land is already solved he observes. He further commits himself that as a cultural leader he will mobilise Bamasaaba of Kenya to benefit from high quality. University Education in Uganda, since a majority of them are already studying in Uganda in various secondary schools.

Front  for national salvation(FRONASA) owes  sufficient origin in masaba_land Fronasa was convinced and born here in bugisu many of those that baby sat young fronasa suffered torture at the hands of state machinery,young men were eliminated in their prime on account of their support ,state machinery was every where and young museven had to make use of bugisu away from state radar ,in his 1973 treatise titled ” an indictment of primitive fascist ” museven announced formally the formation of Fronasa and his determination to eliminate state dictatorship prevailing at the time under the leadership of General Amin.

Museveni’s message on Amin was chameleon hued and thus well received among bamasaba , though Elimination of General Amin was  no mean feat in itself as thousands of young collaborators and their families were slaughtered by the fascist regime and bugisu was among those regions that paid heavily ,as real or perceived including imagined supporters were eliminated on sight without any formal trial thus contradicting all principles of natural justice on rights of accused persons,

 Revolutionary rewards,bugisu region having suffered tremendously under the leadership of fascist dictatorship for its support towards Fronasa  the best offer for 2021 would be a public university and if resources permit a special ministry in charge of bugisu affairs, the ministry would quickly help in identifying  the children of FRONASA veterans and also track down former  fronasa fighters for any government financial support, regions like Teso and Luwero with ministries in that region have done commendably in uplifting the lives of former fighters,for example payment of one stand off gratuity as in the case of luwero ministry,and Teso ministry has equally helped to uplift lives of those that were displaced by war ,thousands of ox ploughs have been given out to family groups including construction of a police station at murongolo town council in kumi town,

 Another special catergory that needs to be mentioned here is the Elgon 13 ,under the leadership of their team leader comrade magode ikuya now a state  minister for the East African affairs,because of Hon Magode ,lobbying skills this team is slightly well facilitated by the state though still the idea of a public university would be embraced by the region insists Mr victor wanyoto one of the team leaders ,a special ministry to address many issues connected to the liberation would do wonders for the region he maintains,Elgon 13 was an  armed group that also played a vital role towards the current liberation of Uganda and many children of the combatants  would immensely benefit from free public university education or quickly access state scholarships,

In addressing the issue of education in the region a technical college was recently set up by government in memory of fighters and supporters like jack maumbe mukhwana  on top of Elgon technical college  that are diploma awarding institutions, and meaning such products would be absorbed in the new bugisu university for undergraduate degree programs ,as the university intends to dwell on teaching both sciences and arts related courses ,this university once granted will be helpful in full filing Uganda,s vision 2040 since  labour skills  lead to upward labour mobility  and also increase tertiary enrollment in the region ,many writers on decentralization have continuously observed that most local governments in Uganda do not have very well qualified man power Iganga and Mbale then were sighted at some point for failing to attract  qualified Engineers according to prof Nsibambi in his book quest for decentralization in Uganda ,bugisu region alone had a population of over 2,000,000. as per the population census 2014 the numbers may be higher than this now and may be drawing towards 4 millions including the ratio of those that are school going ,and the region is made up of 7 districts ie Bududa,Manafa,Namisindwa,Mbale ,Mbale city Bulambuli and sironko and generally  Budaka and sebei areas are historically taken as being part of bugisu region and would be a catchment area, and those from kenyan districts boasting of over 20 million inhabitants as per 2019 Kenyan population census,thus there is reasonable audience in terms of students populace and if fulfilled this will help address unemployment of many graduates and postgraduate holders,part time lecturers ,many yourths around town have serous qualifications but no where to be absorbed.and the parish model will soon need graduates too and bugisu university can provide university education to parish chiefs  perusing degrees at a handsome cost since the region has over 2000 parishes from bugisu ,sebei and Bugwere regions ,UPE and USE finalists would too be absorbed here ,those displaced by landslides and unable to afford university education would benefit from this 

Steven Masiga is a researcher from Mbale

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