What you need to know:
- She has been eulogised as a passionate leader who championed the rights of the girl child.
The path to quality education isn’t always a straight line, but Prof Christine Dranzoa, 55, the Vice Chancellor of Muni University beat all odds to emerge as a top educationist.
A zealous advocate of the girl child education, who also served as the Executive Committee chairperson of Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA), died at Mulago National Referral Hospital yesterday.
The cause of her death is not yet known.
The brilliant girl from a humble background was born in Adua village, Moyo District on January 1, 1967. She was the seventh child in a family of eight children.
Dranzoa did not let her poor background define her future aspirations and despite several upheavals she faced in life, she did not give up.
In an interview with the Monitor in May last year at Muni University, she s about her early years and education background.
She embarked on her education journey as early as 1971, at Maduga Moyo Girls’ Primary school. Owing to her brilliance, she was then offered a bursary to pursue her secondary school education at Sacred Heart College in Gulu District.
But this journey was interrupted by the 1979 liberation war that forced her family to seek refuge in South Sudan. Upon return from exile a year later, she returned to school. She wasn’t privileged like some of her classmates and went to school without shoes.
Being a determined girl, she excelled in her education from primary, secondary and at the university. A woman of integrity, Dranzoa got her first job soon after graduating from Makerere University in 1987 as a fisheries officer at Kajjansi, Kampala. She earned Shs15,000, but was motivated to even work harder.
Dranzoa later started lecturing at the Faculty of Veterinary Science in 1991 and due to her hard work, she was elevated to head the unit and oversee its development.
Defender of girl child
Her father, Mr Desdeo Ito, worked as a casual labourer in Moyo Town while her mother, Ms Victoriana Waiya, was a housewife hailing from a royal family of the Madi Clan.
Her parents eked a living from brewing enguli and kwete (local brew) and could not afford the luxury of taking her to affluent schools. It was from this humble background that she developed a strong passion for the girl child education.
“I feel desperate to see young girls carrying babies on their back at a tender age when they are supposed to be in school. Those men who impregnate these young girls that have a lot of potential should be severely punished according to the law. I stand for the marginalised, truth and integrity,” she said then.
“A society without values and does not respect leaders cannot grow. They are supposed to give direction to us. Unfortunately, we are still behind gender matters. We must hunt for the girls who are lost in society and not studying. I don’t know how I would be without education. Education cannot be relegated in our environment,” she added.
Role at Muni University
President Museveni appointed her to spearhead the establishment of Muni University, which she ably did and lead it since 2014.
Through her efforts, the university organised a health camp in 2017 at Oli Health Centre IV where more than 10,000 patients were treated with the nursing students getting involved.
Dranzoa’s role models were Prof Mary Okwakol, the vice chancellor of Busitema University; Prof Joy Kwesiga, the vice chancellor of Kabale University; Prof Jerry Haigh of University of Saskatoon, Canada, and Prof Mike Campbell of University of Manitoba, Canada.
Prof Dranzo, who suffered from gender stereotyping also won several accolades for her good service.
Colleagues speak out
The education fraternity and Muni University are mourning the woman of substance.
A sombre mood hovered over the university yesterday after the management announced that Prof Dranzoa had passed on at 3:30 am.
“We have just received the sad news of the untimely death of our Vice Chancellor, Prof Christine Dranzoa, who passed on this morning. An official communication will be made later in the day. May Her Soul Rest in Eternal Peace,” the university posted on its Twitter handle.
The Dean of Students at Muni University, Ms Stella Amandu, describes the late Dranzoa as a people’s person,who welcomes everyone regardless of their status. He said Dranzoa groomed many in leadership skills.
“I got skills of leadership from her because she always told us to think outside the box and be innovative.”
Ms Amanda said Dranzoa wished everyone well and advocated for girl child rights.
“Once she started something, she would make sure that she completes it. On several occasions, she wanted us to ensure that we thrive well with our communities. She was very passionate and took pride in promoting the life story and a journey of a girl child. She has been a good listener.”
Dr George Bhoka, the Obongi County MP, said the country had lost an irreplaceable educationist.
“She died at a time she had started laying a firm foundation for public university education at Muni University. Her leadership services will surely be missed by the university and the nation.”
Mr Martin Adua, the assistant chief administrative officer for Arua, who has known Dranzoa for decades, said her academic record is worth emulating.
“This challenges the women in the region and the girl child to be like her. Her high sense of humility made her to become one of the highly-educated women from this sub-region and among the four vice chancellors who are women in Uganda.”
She was a wildlife ecologist, conservationist, educationalist, facilitator and administrator.
Dranzoa held a BSc from Makerere University. She attained Upper Second (Hon’s) in 1987. She held a Master of Science from Makerere University in 1991, Diploma in Modern Management and Administration, Cambridge Tutorial College in 1994, PhD Zoology.
In 1996, she pursued a Certificate in Conservation Genetics at Makerere University. She later did another Certificate in Conservation Biology, University of Illinois, USA in 1997.
In 2001, she did a Certificate in Financial Management and Accounting for non-Accountants and Certificate in Project Planning and Management from Uganda Management Institute.
She pursued another Certificate in Social Skills (Rock Fellow Foundation -Makerere University) between 2003 and 2004.
Dranzoa also held a Certificate in International Women’s Leadership Forum done between 2004 and 2005. She also held a Certificate in PhD supervision (PREPARE PhD Programme) 2009, and a Certificate in Corporate Governance, 2014.