Echoing a melody of honesty and sincerity
Posted Sunday, March 3 2013 at 02:00
Anna Adeke. A young ambitious woman, she has set her eyes on the leadership of Makerere University. The budding leader believes that ego-centrism in leadership is Uganda’s biggest problem and she strives not to fall victim.
The 2013/14 Makerere University guild presidential race has nine contestants, but it was evident from the rally I attended at Nkrumah Hall on, February 21 that the real contest is between NRM’s Boniface Okot and FDC’s Adeke Anna Ebaju, the only female contestant.
As she awaited her chance to speak, Adeke looked so innocent and vulnerable that for a moment, I doubted her ability to express herself.
But the moment, she took to the stage, she became a different creature altogether. With a dramatic flash of her party’s V-sign, she threw a few punchlines deeply into the microphone while droves of her supporters exploded, singing her name and waving her posters atmospherically.
A crowd magnet
“Anna Adeke’s heart quivers with a beautiful melody of honesty and sincerity, therefore, I will not only talk the talk but walk the talk,” she said and paused for effect. “ Anna Adeke has gazed at the star of political activism in an endeavour to deliver Makerere from shameless and vicious demons of greed and maladministration…”
The third-year Law student is by all accounts a gorgeous woman but that is quickly overshadowed by the content of her character when you get to meet her. It is her capability and intellect and not her sex appeal that will certainly influence students to vote her as the fourth female guild president of Makerere after Juliana Norah Njuba in 1987, Sarah Kagingo in 1998 and Susan Abbo in 2007.
Her assertiveness and persuasiveness reminiscent of Cecil Ogwal’s in her heydays have been shaped by her political pedigree right from Kireka Grammar Junior School where she was head girl, to Our Lady of Good Counsel Gazaya, where she was the treasurer of the Young Christian Society, and a class prefect at St. Mary’s SS Kitende. Adeke who touts herself as “A Dependable Servant” is presently the legal advisor of FDC Makerere Chapter.
Crusader for honesty
“I’m a woman whose mind is a sanctuary of a clear conscience,”she says, “I have come to bring accountability to the Guild, and to give it meaning and a new face.” When I ask how she is going to turn around the volatility of Uganda’s oldest and most prestigious university, which has since become notorious for its striking students, she drinks from her bottle of mineral water before answering: “There is a huge communication gap between the students and the University Council.
I will bridge that and consult comprehensively so that students will no longer feel that they are not heard.” She will also get to invoke her gregarious and charming nature, which those who know her attest to. Her roommate in Africa Hall, Miriam Amoro calls her a friendly, considerate and generous woman who keeps her word and is easy to get along with.
“She is capable of moving mountains for whatever she sets her mind to,” says Amoro. This is echoed by Carol Adyero, who studied with her in secondary school. She says: “Adeke is not only a nice girl with humanity, she is also very brilliant, open-minded, hardworking, resilient, and a go-getter who is not afraid to make decisions and take a stand.”
Finding the balance in life
Adeke who hails from Soroti District is determined to stay true to her name, which means “For God” or “godly” in Ateso. The 22-year-old says her deep sense of destiny won’t even allow her to indulge in endless attentions from men.
This is why she is looking forward to returning morals back to the Ivory Tower, first by setting an example of what it means to dress decently and by demanding the implementation of the policy against sexual harassment, which was enacted in 2006, but has somehow remains redundant.
How will she balance a demanding course like Law with administrative responsibilities should she win? “Leadership is not necessarily an impediment to one’s academic excellence. It is about service but it’s also about exemplariness. I must excel somehow,” she says, alluding to Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o (now Kenyan Minister for Medical Services and Secretary-General of the Orange Democratic Movement) who in his time at Makerere became guild president and also got a First-Class degree.
And the future?
After university, Adeke sees herself very active in national politics. She wants to be part of the solution to ego-centricism in leadership which she believes is Uganda’s biggest problem. She hopes to set an example of servant leadership that inspires others to aspire for greater ideals. Is it then the time for a woman to lead Uganda?
“What Uganda needs is good leadership regardless of gender; we need politicians with a deep sense of nobility and virtue,” she avers. “So the question is the moral question in leadership, not the gender question.”
As a lawyer in prospect, Adeke is inspired by “astute lawyer” David Mpaga, and as believer is drawn by “the compelling story of Mother Teresa”.