Ugandan President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni has explained why he declined to seek admission to Makerere University, the country’s largest and oldest institution of higher learning.
Currently aged 78, Museveni joined the University of East Africa at Dar es Salaam in 1967 before graduating with Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Political science and Economics. His earlier schools included Kyamate School and Ntare School.
Speaking during the Makerere at 100 Main celebrations at the institution’s Freedom Square in the capital Kampala, Gen Museveni explained why he declined to join Makerere, the envy of his peers at the time, choosing the University of East Africa at Dar es Salaam instead.
As expected, the reason had everything to do with the politics of the time, his ideals and a great desire to study near a man he admired.
That man was Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the then President of Tanzania. A Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician, and political theorist, Nyerere was Prime Minister of Tanganyika from 1961 to 1962, president of the same state from 1962 through I964, and later as President of Tanzania from 1964 until 1985.
Born in Butiama, Tanzania on April 13, 1922, Nyerere died in the United Kingdom city of London on October 14, 1999.
Museveni joined University of East Africa at Dar es Salaam just three years after Nyerere was declared President of Tanzania, Tanganyika’s successor state. He peacefully handed over power to Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
Interestingly, a year after Nyerere voluntarily handed over power in 1985 after ruling for 23 years, Gen Museveni took over power in Kampala, following a five-year bush war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the Luweero Triangle.
So, why did Museveni refuse to study at Uganda’s Makerere, opting for Tanzania instead? Gen Museveni has revealed that his intention was to be closer to President Nyerere because of his love for the unity of the East African region.
The president touted integration as a sure way to prosperity.
“I am one of the people who refused to come to Makerere [for my higher education]. When we were putting choices, all my choices were Dar es Salaam because I wanted to be near Nyerere who was being talked about as someone who wanted East African integration,” revealed Museveni.
“If the production of goods and services can only be realized when you sell what you produce, what is the plan here in Africa? We should be talking about economic integration. If we don’t talk about it how shall we build prosperity?”
He also praised science as a key to societal change and transformation.
“Science has made some progress, which is why I stated that 70 per cent of scholarships go to science. I would like to remind everyone that science is the foundation of social change,” he noted.
“God gave us the mandate to establish dominion over nature. This means understanding science. The prima is the initiator of social economic change which is the development of science and technology.”
At the same event, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa described himself as one of the testimonies of the NRM Government, especially because he went to Makerere with his metallic suitcase and has since become a very powerful person in government. (Read Story Here).