“In our time, whenever you met a student of St. Mary’s Rushoroza, it was always your duty to beat him up,” said Amama Mbabazi at Kigezi College Butobere’s alumni dinner at Hotel Africana recently.
Mbabazi, whose duty as Prime Minister is supervising all ministers, was reminiscing about his student days at Butobere. Opened in 1957, Butobere has nurtured big names from Kigezi such as Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile (Bank of Uganda governor) and Prof Mondo Kagonyera (Chancellor of Makerere University). However, this very school is also on the brink of academic decay; it is no longer known for churning good grades.
“I am very disappointed that every time results are released, I turn pages and pages of newspapers, but I never see Kigezi College. What caused the decline of our school?” Mbabazi asked the head teacher, Geoffrey Bashonga.
In response, Bashonga said the school had all the facilities and requirements, but students lacked recreational facilities. He also attributed the poor performance to a bias in academics at the expense of extracurricular activities. But the response didn’t impress the alumni.
In fact, Kagonyera cited lack of discipline as the root cause of the decline.
“I was at the school some time back but I found that discipline had broken down,” he said.
At the dinner, the old boys launched their association, the Basiniya Association, and pledged to devise means of revamping their school. The old boys of Kigezi’s first secondary school shared fond memories of the old days, with Kagonyera saying profoundly: “Kigezi College Butobero might not have made us what we are, but certainly influenced what we are. So fellow Basiniya, let us join hands and revive our school.”
He was also one of the 23 pioneer students.
“The secondary school you attend is an important component of your development, Kigezi College Butobere contributed greatly to what I’m today,” Kagonyera addded.
Mbabazi recalled his youthful days as a resourceful student, who engaged in sport, drama and leadership.
“I was a luminary in 40 metres, currently 400 metres,” he said adding that John Akii-bua narrowly defeated him and represented Uganda at the Olympics in Mexico.
His was a case of many achievements from the start; in S. 1, he became the first president of the National Union of Students of Uganda (NUSU) Kigezi College Chapter.
He further said he was very good at rugby and entertainment that he later became the president of the entertainment society.
“I was an actor and a director,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Mutebile shied away from his accolades, prompting Mbabazi to chide his humility:
“What he didn’t tell you is that he is the Governor Bank of Uganda and the first ‘musiniya’ to hold that powerful office.
“The economic success we enjoy today has been as a result of Emmanuel Mutebile.”
The old boys also sang Butobero’s anthem:
“Kigezi College Butobero, may her standards keep raising as the year succeeds the other...”
Although time has not agreed with the anthem, the alumni have worked out a programme to improve the school’s standards.
“I have now fully joined this battle to raise standards of our school,” Mbabazi resolved.
He also revealed that the government is planning to reform the education sector through a project dubbed “Skilling Uganda.”
“We need to see our universities becoming incubators of entrepreneurship, not just academics,” Mbabazi said.
- Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile - Governor Bank of Uganda
- Amama Mbabazi - Prime Minister Republic of Uganda
- Prof George Mondo Kagonyera - Chancellor Makerere University
- Justice John Bosco Katusi - Retired Judge/ head of the Anti-corruption court
- Dr Twesigye-omwe Moses - Principal UTC Kichwamba
- Brig Henry Tumukunde - Former CMI Chief
- Avitus Tibarimbasa - former University Secretary, Makerere University
- Shem Bageine - Former Ndorwa MP
- Prof Nyangababo (RIP) - former head of Chemistry Department Makerere