Despite making what seemed to many as a farewell speech last year, Dr Ahmed Sengendo, the rector of the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), last week saw his term of office extended by a further five years.
The move, calculated to end the raging controversy over the search for a new rector, came after a university governing council meeting on December 11, 2015.
Speaking a day later, during the 23rd graduation ceremony at the IUIU female’s campus in Kabojja, Dr Sengendo said the decision was reached at the 27th council meeting, which also carried some other changes.
“Dr Abdallah Omar Naseef is retiring from the chairmanship of the IUIU council. I’m also pleased to inform all stakeholders that Dr Abdulaziz Al-Sebail from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was elected by the 27th university council meeting that sat yesterday as the new council chairman,” Sengendo said, to a huge applause.
Dr Sengendo has been rector at IUIU for 11 years, making him the second-longest serving head of a tertiary institution in Uganda, after Prof Badru Kateregga of Kampala University, who has been in charge since 1999.
The meeting also accepted Dr Ismail S Gyagenda, an associate professor currently based at Mercer University in the US, as the next deputy rector, in charge of academic affairs. Dr Gyagenda replaces Dr Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, who was recently appointed the vice chancellor of Kampala International University. Dr Mpezamihigo will formally leave IUIU in March 2016.
The graduation ceremony saw 2,658 graduands receive degrees and diplomas — the largest number IUIU has ever graduated since it was established in 1988.
Among these, 179 graduands received certificates, 352 got undergraduate diplomas, 1,755 got bachelor’s degrees, 75 postgraduate diplomas and 327 got master’s degrees. Some 113 got first class degrees received presents. However, more than half of the graduands (1,449 or 55 per cent) were male compared to 1,209 females.
Ahmed Bahaya, a graduate of Sharia (Islamic Law), won the Prince Badru Kakungulu award, given to the best graduand of the year. The alumni award, given to the second best student of the year, was won by Idris Sempa, who obtained a first class bachelor’s degree in public administration.
The international Islamic charitable award was given to Nuru Nansereko, who obtained a first class degree in secretarial studies. Nansereko is also the secretary to the director of Kampala campus.
President Museveni, in a speech read for him by the third deputy Prime Minister and also the minister of East African affairs, Ally Kirunda Kivejinja, urged the graduates to distance themselves from corruption, describing it as a cancer that has affected growth in the country.
“Our problem as a country is not so much lack of graduates now as it is of morally upright and transparent workers,” the president said. “The cancer of corruption that is eating into our society at all levels needs to be stopped.”