‘I was predictably unpredictable’ -Dr Peregrine Kibuuka

Friday May 9 2014

 

By EDGAR R. BATTE

In September 1966, Peregrine Kibuuka joined Namilyango College School as a student in Senior Five and returned seven years later as an English language and Literature teacher. He had just graduated with an honours’ degree in Education from Makerere University.

“I taught for nine months and then went back to Makerere University for post graduate studies in Education. I was then posted to St Henrys’ College Kitovu as head teacher but I think I had had enough of Catholic-leaning schools,” Kibuuka recalls. “So I went to Ndejje SS, which was a protestant-based school.”

This set him on an education sojourn as an administrator in different schools around the country.

However, in 1986, Dr Kibuuka was posted back to Namilyango College to replace Alfred Mugoda, who had served the all-boys school for 13 years as head teacher.

For a man who had hardly been a head teacher for half a decade, challenges, especially from his own staff, awaited him.
Kibuuka got wind of talk that the teachers were asking where the ‘countryside head teacher’ had come from.

“They said that I laughed so loud like a villager. I thought to myself; did they forget that I am an old boy of Namilyango? Do they think they are more sophisticated than me?” he asked himself.

The resistance continued. In one incident, a teacher accused him of slapping his deputy, a story The Weekly Topic, a newspaper at the time, carried. This caused a stir.

The Education minister at the time, Amanya Mushega, carried out investigations and cleared him.

“I had instructions to improve and restore the glory of Namilyango so I had put in place things that they did not like,” he says with a smile.
Kibuuka says people have different opinions of him but one thing they will all agree on is that he is a just man. “I was predictably unpredictable because I would listen to everyone and make a decision. The first teacher I got rid of was my neighbour and we were of the same clan and tribe. People were shocked that I had sacked him,” he discloses.
He says his yardsticks were clear; work, output and devotion to duty. If one dodged lessons, Kibuuka had nothing to do but reprimand them.

The incidents he calls to mind are many. One of such was of a brilliant student who challenged a teacher who had not prepared for his lessons. As the teacher made calculations on the chalk board, the student put up his hand and told the teacher he had included a wrong line in the workout.

In the process of correcting the mistake, the teacher made another one that the student pointed out. The teacher then went to the deputy head teacher in charge of academics and said he would not teach the student again. When Kibuuka was told about it, he called both the teacher and student and asked what was going on.

The teacher told him the student was in disciplined and that if the student was not suspended, he would not teach again. The teacher was advised to prepare more.

The 65-year-old educationist says his policy was that once he got what he wanted qualitatively, he was not going to disturb people and lose their good will over minor details.

That way, he slowly won favour from his team and the students
1992 still remains one of the years in his careers that left a dark mark on his memory after a student was killed by another. At the time, the school was about to hold a social dance with Mount St Mary’s Namagunga. The parents of the girls in Namagunga objected to their girls’ dancing with ‘murderers’.

They were very devastated by the events. But, he says he told them to study hard. That year, Namilyango performed so well that almost all students returned for A-Level.

In 2001, Dr Kibuuka was transferred to St Peters Nsambya. Within a year here, Kibuuka propelled the school to academic excellence. He was here for four years.

He went on to serve as the first university secretary of Muteesa I University and currently lectures graduate students at Makerere University. Kibuuka is a member of the Law Reform Commission.

Some prominent Alumni
Norbert Mao. President of Democratic Party.
Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe. Justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda.
Justice John Bosco Katutsi. Former Judge of the High Court of Uganda.
Maj Gen Francis Nyagweso. Chairman UOC and Olympian 1958–1964.
Prince David Wasajja. Brother to the Kabaka of Buganda.
Prof John Ssebuwufu. Vice Chancellor Kyambogo University.
Austin Bukenya. Author, playwright and literary scholar
Nicholas “DJ Messe” Mpiire. Comedian, radio personality.
Allan Kasujja. Works with BBC Radio..

What they say about him
“He was a serious unassuming man who believed in people being given their due respect. He was hilarious at the assemblies and had lots of memorable quotes that people keep reciting,”
Fred Gyavira Kyaka, Sales and Marketing Manager, Coca-Cola.

“I remember him as a guy with a very good command of the queen’s language. I learnt most of the English complicated words just from listening to him on the Tuesday morning assemblies,”
Ramsey F ON Ndir, Rugby Player

“He was a very strict administrator and a no nonsense head teacher. We enjoyed a lot of his proverbs and sayings, which made listening to him fantastic. He was very creative with words,”
Gawaya Tegulle, Journalist

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