Mbarara varsity VC hands over office today

Friday October 24 2014



Prof Fredrick Kayanja, who has been Vice Chancellor of Mbarara University (MUST) since its inception in 1989, will hand over the office to his successor, Dr Celestino Obua today.

Prof Obua was nominated as the VC in June by the Chancellor, Prof Peter Mugyenyi, after he beat four other contenders for the position.

Prof Obua has been the deputy Principal College of Health Sciences at Makerere University.

Addressing the press at his office yesterday, Prof Kayanja said he will relocate to his residence in Kampala and have time with his family but will continue supervising graduate students at MUST.

“I will relocate to Kampala but want have three days in a month to come and supervise students and staff; the post graduate students because that is where the staff come from. I don’t want to die academically, I will continue interacting with students,” Prof Kayanja said.

The university started from buildings that were being used by the school of midwifery.

“Starting was not a cup of tea. It was a difficult undertaking. I was told by the President that I have this job and I have not to fail,” Prof Kayanja said.

He added: “Money was hard to come by because Uganda had just come out of the civil war. World Bank never wanted us to start a university because there was no money. You had to be frugal, you had to avoid wastage. We were constrained by lack of funds for rapid expansion and staff recruitment.”

He said MUST has grown to the level he never expected. “I did not expect MUST to develop to this stage when it started. I am very proud of what it is, of the products especially doctors. I continue to value what they are. Setting up this institution is something I can’t belittle,” he said.

Prof Kayanja who has been a lecturer in the faculty of medicine
advised the new VC to open his door and work like any other staff.

“If you are an officer and you give orders and remain seated in the chair your success is limited. If you are part of the workers, teachers will know you are part of them and students will also know that you are not there to push files but also have academic qualifications,” he said.

Humble beginnings
Prof Kayanja, a professor of medicine founded MUST in 1989 and started with a physicist, biochemist, psychologist and entomologist as academic staff. They started with 43 students doing medicine.