Monday, 1 June 2009

Guest Blog: Make Baryamureeba Makerere V-C

From Makerere-based blogger Joe Powell:

Since the start of the year speculation has mounted that current Makerere Vice-Chancellor Professor Livingstone Luboobi will shortly step down and allow a new person to take over the running of the university. The process of selecting a new V-C is far from transparent but the dons must resist the temptation to conduct the 'business as usual' approach of selecting on seniority and patronage. The university is in urgent need of a radical shake-up from a Professor with a proven track record of success. As such I believe the Dean of the ICT Faculty, Venansius Baryamureeba, is the most compelling candidate.

Baryamureeba was the first Ugandan to receive a PhD in computer science, graduating from the University of Bergen aged 30. He has transformed the ICT faculty into the envy of campus, running a multi-million dollar budget supported heavily by the private sector. He also has good connections with the government (a necessity) through his service on the President's investor round-table group. On Saturday it was announced that he has been made a member of the International Biographical Centre in the UK by virtue of being one of the top 100 world professionals for 2009. Spartakuss has a run down of his highly impressive CV for those who want to know more.

In short, we need radical change at Makerere. It is because of this that I see his relatively young age and alleged brashness as a positive thing. I think Baryamureeda can deliver.

Bloggers Round-Up

Bus Strike

KFM is reporting that bus operators in Kampala have moved their buses onto the streets for loading in protest at increased rent costs.

Do any readers have any information on this?

Get Up To Speed On...US Action Against The LRA

Last week ground breaking legislation was tabled in the US Senate to press President Obama to help the UPDF finish the LRA once and for all. Republicans and Democrats joined together to table the bill, which comes after heavy criticism of US involvement in the ill-fated Operation Lighting Thunder before Christmas. The following are the pick of the articles from around the globe:
  • The East African quotes Congressmen Royce: 'Sometimes just getting rid of one person does make a big difference. History is full of captivating leaders with bad ideas who do great damage'.
  • Last week we carried an analysis from Enough's Julia Spiegel and Noel Atama. The group campaigns against genocide and argues that: 'a revitalised and revamped military operation focused on apprehending the senior LRA leadership while simultaneously protecting civilians is the best way to defeat the insurgency and allow displaced civilians to return to their homes'
  • Download Enough's full report 'Finishing the fight against the LRA' here.
  • The New York Times had heavy criticism for the first operation.
  • Meanwhile Reuters reports that fresh LRA attacks have taken place in the Dungu region.

Word of the Day: Intrigue

'Intrigue is our biggest enemy' remarked Gen. Otafiire at the NRM conference last week. Little did the influential General realise that he would have chosen the word of choice for the hottest controversies in the country at the moment.

A World Vision activist was soon describing the upheavals in the pentecostal Church community with the same word. The infighting at MUBS was next, with Professor Balunywa's deputy describing his boss's tactics to hold on to his job as an 'act of intrigue'.

So with this little-used word catapulted to the front pages where do readers think the next 'intrigue' is going to come from?

Ugandan Football's West African Hoodoo

Why is it that Ugandan football teams always struggle is West Africa? The Cranes saw their World Cup qualification chances quashed by away defeats to Benin and Niger, but were able to get a creditable draw against the higher ranked Angola. Similarly KCC comfortably beat the Nigerian team Bayelsa United 3-1 at home but lost 4-0 away. This came after they were able to hold South African giants Supersport United to a 1-1 draw in Pretoria.

Answers to this puzzle on a postcard please.

Best of the Papers

The stand-out article from this morning's papers is the Monitor's splash interview with Justice Kanyeihamba. The retiring judge criticises his colleagues for an illogical judgement in the 2006 petition from Dr Besigye challenging the election result. He argues that after the Supreme Court agreed that irregularities existed in the poll the result should have been cancelled.

The key line: 'For me once you say that the system of elections in this country violated the Constitution and other laws, the it is flawed. I call this to be a gross violation on the Constitution which should never have been allowed.'

Also worth reading is Sam Mutabazi's spot-on analysis of the state of NGOs in Uganda. His piece is a useful addition to the aid effectiveness debate kicked-off by Dambisa's Moyo's Dead Aid, a review of which you can read in the magazine here.

The key line: 'The unending syndrome of NGO workshops and conferences have made skeptics wonder why these institutions waste so much money on meetings that hardly make any impact on the population on whose behalf they claim to be working.'