Victoria University Students Discuss Role Of Religion In Politics


Victoria University students heard that religious leaders are not doing what is enough to shape the political agenda of Uganda. The critical observation was reached at during a public dialogue which took place at Victoria University campus on Jinja Road in Kampala.

The public dialogue was organized together with Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) under the theme “Religion, Politics and National Identity: A Look at the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.” Former presidential candidate Maj Gen Benon Biraaro was chief guest and speaker.

Speaking at the dialogue, Maj Gen Biraaro said religious leader have not put democracy high on their agenda adding that churches and mosques are not democratic enough internally and lack the moral standards to guide this country.

Angelo Izama, a journalist while giving a key note address to students said religion has lost its influence on setting political agenda unlike in the past. “The religious institutions lost their moral power to have an influence in politics because bent low for politics,” Izama stated.

Maj Gen Biraaro who became a people’s darling because of his articulation of issues and having a good political plan for this country during the last two presidential debates speaking at Victoria University said morality has taken a back seat in politics. Morality is the loser, he emphasized.

“We need to go back to the drawing board. Let’s say we want to create a path were a loser will congratulate the winner. Let’s agree to a position when you lose and congratulate the winner,” Maj Gen Biraaro said in reference to the continued impasse between President Museveni and opposition leaders.

The retired soldier and a bush war hero, who also believes that democracy in Uganda has not failed but rather needs  to be given a chance to start, says he is looking at a national dialogue that will bring together Ugandans to find a political solution to the situation the country has found itself in.

“We need to give dialogue maximum time. If I go at it alone it won’t work. I am looking for men and women of integrity. The problem is that when I contact some of them, they ask me - do you think president Museveni will like it – I feel bad.” Maj Gen Biraaro says of his effort to put in place a national dialogue to make Uganda better politically.

While Maj Gen Biraaro and Izama would love to see religious leaders play a part in the politics of the country some students explained that this is not right citing the constitution which bars religious leaders from directly getting involved in the country’s politics.

Energy Savings Tips For Your Home


Did you know that your electrical system/bills take up 50 percent of your household bills? With the convenience of Yaka (a local pre-paid billing system in Uganda), it is now easier to load small amounts of money to keep the lights. However these small amounts total up to an exorbitant amount at the end of the month.

It is important to monitor your electricity usage in order to save on your household bills. With a sharp rise in electricity prices from 558.4 to 667.4 shillings per unit it is important to maintain low power usage.  In this article, Lamudi, an online portal that connect property buyers and sellers, shares with you tips on how you can save on electricity in your home:

Use your fridge efficiently

Your fridge is always in use, making it your most expensive appliance. To save electricity make sure the door is closed tight and free from gaps so cold air can't escape. The ideal fridge temperature is around 5 degrees and the freezer temperature is -15 to -18 degrees Celsius. If these temperatures are not maintained the fridge will consume a lot of electricity to maintain it.

Turning off electric appliances when after use

This is a standard energy saving method , switching off all electric appliances that are not in use is important. For example irons, water heaters, televisions and the likes. You should switch off appliances that are not in use or minimize the number of electrical appliances that are switched on at the same time. Your electricity bill is bound to be high if you use all your appliances at the same time.

Use energy-efficient light globes

Replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs these save power and last longer. Ensure that you are using bulbs whose electricity consumption is low such as fluorescent bulbs that save up to almost 80 percent on energy consumption and not bulbs that consume more power.

You should also make sure that you have natural lighting into your house so that you will not have to switch on the lights during the day. Using solar energy can also help in reducing the cost of electricity.

Proper use of cooling devices

With the current heat wave air conditioners and fans are the most used appliances. To reduce the humidity/heat in your home ensure that the internal fan speed on your air conditioning system is slowed down. The movement of air through the machine will allow it to remove more moisture, which makes you feel much cooler. For the fan it’s better to keep the fan speed high.

Buganda Explains Mandatory Land Registration


Buganda Land Board recently launched a campaign aimed at registering all Title-holders on Kabaka’s land in a bid to regularize their tenancy.  Buganda Land Board Head of Legal Ndawula Barnabas in this interview explains the motives of the campaign. 

Please tell us what the campaign is all about the wetuukire campaign you launched recently.

Wetuukire’ is a campaign that is calling upon all persons currently in possession of land titles on Kabaka’s land, which were formerly issued by Uganda Land Commission and District Land Boards to regularize their tenancy with Buganda Land Board. The campaign is scheduled to start on March 1st and will end on April 30th 2016. 

What do you exactly mean by Kabaka’s land and what areas does it cover?

Kabaka’s land refers to all that land vested in the Kabaka of Buganda by virtue of his office and held in custody for the people of Buganda. Kabaka’s land includes:

  • The Kings official estate ‘Olusuku lwa Ssabasajja’ measuring 350 square miles covering the counties of Kyadondo, Busiiro, Kyagwe, including such areas as Munyonyo and Makindye and Buziga.
  • It also covers all land that was managed and controlled by the Buganda Land Board as a creature of the 1962 constitution of Uganda, which entails urban and peri-urban areas of municipalities and towns in Buganda kingdom
  • It also includes the Sazza and Gomboloola estates measuring 8 square miles and 49 acres respectively found in all districts of Buganda covering some parts of Mukono, Wakiso and Kampala and different areas within rural/up country districts in Buganda region. 

How is it that persons were able to obtain titles on Kabaka’s land in the first place?Individuals did get hold of titles on Kabaka’s land especially lease titles by way of interests created by Uganda Land Commission and the District Land Boards. 

Wasn’t the issuance of such titles by Uganda Land Commission and District Land Boards legally binding?

In light of the prevailing circumstances at the time, one may say that technically it was legal because it was state sanctioned. The Central Government under the Obote-I Republican constitution of 1967 confiscated Buganda Kingdom assets, of which land was the largest.

The 1967 constitution also created the Uganda Land Commission which was given the mandate to manage all public land, of which the confiscated Buganda Kingdom land was among.

This was further escalated by the 1975 Land Decree which declared all land to be public land and vested the same in the State to be held in trust for the people of Uganda and to be administered by the Uganda Land Commission. Further still, in 1998 District Land Boards were created and given further mandate to manage land within their respective districts. 

If the titles were legal then, what is the rationale behindBuganda Land Board’s regularization of tenancy on the same land now?

Buganda Land Board is regularizing tenancy on the land becausethe land was officially handed back to Kabaka’s Government. In 1993, the Government of Uganda through the Traditional Rulers Restitution of Assets and Properties Act Cap 247 entered various legally binding agreements with Buganda Kingdom culminating into a memorandum of understanding between themselves in 2013 under which various land titles and properties were officially returned to the Kabaka. 

Are there any repercussions that can affect tenants who haven’t had their titles validated by BLB?

Yes,it is vital for title holders to have their titles validated because Buganda Land Board is now the controlling authority of the land. As the authority, Buganda Land Board needs to know the tenants currently residing on the land. Once BLB has the knowledge of the tenancy and has authenticated the tenancy, the title holder will enjoy security of tenure guaranteed by BLB.

In addition, financial institutions and Commercial Banks are now accepting only those land titles on Kabaka’s land that have been validated by Buganda Land Board. Furthermore, all transactions to include the sale, exchange or donation of land with titles on Kabaka’s land are now rendered invalid by law, if not consented to by Buganda Land Board. 

Does this mean that Buganda Land Board wants to evict tenants off Kabaka’s land through the Wetuukire campaign?

‘Wetuukire’ campaign is an initiative by Buganda Land Board to ensure that all tenants on Kabaka’s land enjoy peaceful and economically sustainable use of the land they occupy. Buganda Land Board is therefore not chasing anyone off Kabaka’s land.

We are simply acting within our mandate and calling upon all tenants on Kabaka’s land that received land titles issued by Uganda Land Commission and District Land Boards to come  and regularize their land titles with Buganda Kingdom, this is both free hold and Lease titles.

In brief, are you saying that one cannot buy /sell or mortgage this land in a legally binding manner unless and until the same has been validated by BLB?

The simple answer to that is YES! It is therefore entirely to the benefit of the title holder to heed to our call to have their land title regularized at this point to avoid inconveniences in the future. All those that don’t comply will handled within the existing law.


Meet Emmanuel Katongole, Chairman Of Uganda National Oil Company


In an effort to take charge of commercial interests of the state within the oil and gas sector, the government of Uganda using The Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013 of Uganda, put in place The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), also known as the National Oil Company of Uganda, a limited liability petroleum company in Uganda.

The company, according to a report by The Observer newspaper, was officially incorporated under the Companies Act, 2012, by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) on June, 12, 2015 under the name, Uganda National Oil Company Limited. The Observer says the company’s registration number is 202803.

Quoting Gloria Sebikari, a senior communications officer in the ministry of energy, The Observer in August, 2015 reported that the National Oil Company is owned by Minister of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) who owns 51 per cent shares and the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED) who own 49 per cent of the shares.

On 23rd October, 2015 the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni inaugurated its board alongside that of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda. The board is chaired by Emmanuel Katongole, an economist and businessman most famous for the role he played in setting up Quality Chemical Industries Limited (now known as Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CQCIL)), a leading pharmaceutical company making and supplying triple-combination anti retroviral drugs

Other board members include Francis Nagimesi, a former chief executive officer of the defunct Coffee Marketing Board of Uganda; Francis Twinamatsiko, a principal economist in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (U); Grace Tubwita Bagaaya, a physical planner; Irene Pauline Batebe, a chemical/refinery engineer in the Petroleum Directorate of Uganda; Godfrey Andama, a senior geoscientist; and Stella-Marie Biwaga, a lawyer working with FIDA, Uganda.

In this article we profile Emmanuel Katongole the man trusted with handling the oil and gas business on behalf of Uganda. We present his history, accomplishments and capabilities. We look at the meticulous rise of a young boy from a village in Mityana to becoming one of the most influential entrepreneurs changing lives in Africa.

Childhod and education

Katongole was born in a remote little village of Bulela in present day Mityana district, 55 years. Despite growing up in an impoverished rural family, Katongole managed to sit for Primary Leaving Examination at Buyabi primary School in Mityana and passed well. The young Katongole relocated to Mukono near Seeta town in a village called Nantabulirirwa.

For post primary education Katongole joined Namilyango College for O’ level and Kampala High School for A' Level where he studied Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics before joining Makerere University to do a bachelor in Statistics and applied economics in 1985. He has a Master of Arts in Economic Policy and Planning (MA.EPP) also from Makerere University. He has also studied many small but important courses which have made him a better business leader. He is succesfully married with children.

Starting Quality Chemicals

He worked in various capacities at Ssembule Group, a steel making company, for ten years till he retired into private business. Tired of working for other people Katongole joined hands with his close friends Francis Kitaka, Randoll Tiarney, Edward Martin, Fred Mutebi and Edward Baguma to start Quality Chemicals Limited (QCL) in 1997. Quality Chemicals imported and distributed animal, human and environmental health drugs.

“We built a company from a humble beginning to a leading health science company in the region until we took a decision to go into manufacturing. That gave birth to Quality Chemical Industries Limited to make medicine for HIV/AIDS and Malaria treatment.”  Katongole told said in an interview with this writer in 2010.

In 2004, QCL convinced Cipla, the Indian drug maker, to form a joint venture and set up a pharmaceutical factory in Uganda. Ground was broken in 2005 and the factory was commissioned in 2007. The joint venture came to be known as Quality Chemical Industries Limited.

In November 2013, Cipla took a controlling majority interest in QCIL, renaming the company CIPLAQCIL and appointing Katongole the Executive Chairman of the company. He remains a shareholder in the business.  Over the years, the Luzira based factory has grown to become the first pharmaceutical in Sub Saharan Africa to get ISO recognition.

 “When we started government was disengaging itself from running parastatals giving them to the private sector. But something was lacking in the area of human health. This was a time when HIV/Aids and malaria was killing people. We saw this as an opportunity to serve society. We were inspired by social entrepreneurship.” Katongole explained in the interview.

Katongole says all the six people who set out to start Quality Chemicals contributed USD5000 as startup capital which has since sprung out into multimillion dollar establishments. “We have been able to attract high technology transfer into Uganda. We have been able to put up a pharmaceutical company recognized by World Health Organization and other leading regulatory agencies.” He says of the many achievements registered.

Generous Katongole

Katongole has a stake in Vero Food Investments, a company that makes bottled mineral water. He dedicated profits from his Vero Food Industries shareholding to benefit Veronica Katongole foundation, a nonprofit making organization paying school fees for needy and disadvantaged children. Katongole is Rotarian and served as the District Governor for Rotary District 9211, which comprises Tanzania and Uganda. He is also member of the prestigious Initiative for Global Development (IGD) - Frontier 100.

Nominated for UNOC Chairmanship

Katongole told the weekly The Independent Magazine that nomination to chair the board of the Company was a surprise. This perhaps comes from the fact that he had no prior known experience of working in the oil and gas sector. Actually his nomination caused uproar and the parliamentary vetting committee received much attention from opposition leaders and cautious members of the public.

Godber Tumushabe, the director of Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies, speaking to the The Independent Magazine questions how President Yoweri Museveni got to nominate the board members saying it was bad for the sector.

“The public service should be able to call for applications, conduct interviews and the president should recommend people from the interviews because handpicking has not produced individuals who are immune to political interference.” Tumushabe told the Magazine in a 2014 interview.

Despite the hesitation, the parliamentary vetting committee okayed the committee. After a long time of silence, President Museveni in October 2015 inaugurated the board of Uganda National Oil Company and that of Petroleum Authority Uganda (PAU).

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda headed by Jane Mulemwa. Other members include Reuben Kashambuzi, Dr. Immaculate Semanda Nakimera, Peter Lominit, Doreen Kabasindi Wandera, Eng. Patrick Nakoko and Kiryowa Kiwanuka.

President Museveni cautioned members of the two bodies that it is now their responsibility to take on the wars of developing the country. "In Uganda, we have discovered 40% of oil in the target areas and 6.5 billion barrels will be yielded from the target areas. This is enough to support commercial production. The remaining 60% is where oil is suspected but not confirmed," he said.

While the National Oil Company three months after taking office hasn’t hit the ground running affairs as mandated by the laws that establish them, there is no doubt that Katongole will handle the job at hand. The appointing authority believes that he will bring his business acumen and turn around the fortunes of Uganda’s promising oil and gas sector.

How Victoria University Is Driving Oil And Gas Skills Development In Uganda

For Ugandans to be able to work in the nascent oil and gas industry will need requisite skills appropriate to meet the demands of the sector.

But because the oil industry is new in Uganda, few Ugandans have been able to get the required training. Many had to fly out to access learning institutions able to offer such an education.

This is however changing because Victoria University is now offering oil and gas courses. In this interview Dr. Stephen Robert Isabalija the Vice Chancellor of the University gives the details.

Mr Isabalija, briefly tell us about you as an individual?

I’m Dr. Stephen Robert Isabalija the Vice Chancellor of Victoria University. I have been here for the last two years; previously I was in the United States at a University working as a professor.

I was also a senior lecturer at Makerere University. And I did my PhD in United States were id did studying Public Policy and I specialized in International development and sustainable future. I am a full time Ugandan

As the Vice Chancellor, tell us about Victoria University

We are motivated by experiential learning; that is what brought us to the market, our promoters are entrepreneurs and our vision is to change the way how education is done.

Every person in the market has been saying the new graduates don’t have skills; we are here to skill students, we are here to give them new ways of working. We want students to leave the university when they can go out and do different things.

Most of the people are retooling themselves and we thought we would that service by bringing the school nearer to the people.

Going by your experience and CV, what attracted you to work with Victoria University?

It’s the University’s vision; it’s the uniqueness of what Victoria University had to offer. Again am attracted to work with the promoters and entrepreneurs of the University who have a passion for education. To us changing the world and the way things are done in the country is our passion.

 Victoria University talks of state of the art facilities, what exactly are these facilities, elaborate more? 

Our classrooms are top notch with air conditioning, not that we don’t have good air in Uganda but we believe students must be in good environment and that temperature must be controlled.

But also you must be aware that we insist that every student must own a laptop which the school provides freely, that is going to expose our students to new ways of doing research.

The whole campus has internet, also our class rooms have projectors and interactive blackboards. So in a way we are exposing our students how international schools in the western world operate.

To us that is very important. Also our students stay in a clean environment which is not common in other universities.

 The January intake is on till February, why should someone come to study at Victoria University?

Again it is something we talked about, experiential learning. The things we provide, we want them to leave Victoria University when they are equipped with necessary skills ready for the job market.

We also provide them with internship. At Victoria University, internship is a must. Any student who comes to us will leave ready for a job and they always perform well or they can start their own. 

So for us we are providing courses and give the students the opportunity to leave the university not to look for jobs, they get the employed or are able to create jobs for other people.

What unique courses do you have that give you leverage over other private universities?

Of course you know that we have oil and gas courses. We also have courses like Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Bachelor of Midwifery Science, Bachelor of Nursing Science, Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Bachelor in Business Information Systems, International Relations and Diplomatic Studies, Bachelor of Environmental Science among other traditional courses.

Tell us about the Department of Petroleum and Energy Studies at Victoria University

It is one department that was formed out of the need to see what is happening in the economy because oil and gas is a new thing that everybody is talking about.

We thought we can bring this training near the people, we thought we would start the training so that when the first barrel of oil comes out of the ground we have people working in the fields.

What are some of the oil and gas and mining courses that are taught here at Victoria University?

We have Bachelor of Science in Oil & Gas Accounting, Certificate in Oil & Gas Law, Certificate in Oil & Gas Project Management, Certificate in Oil & Gas Health, Safety & Environmental Management, Certificate in Supply Chain and Logistic Management and Certificate in Oil and Gas Management under the department of petroleum and gas studies.

How many students are undertaking these courses and how does one qualify to study oil and gas courses?

We have so far trained 150 students, some we have trained and they have left. We do retooling for some people. We linked these students to employers and are now duly employed in and outside the country.

To qualify for such courses, you must have done senior six and for the bachelors you must have a bias for economics and math. We also take on people who have qualified in other fields because this is a skill they add on their daily routine of working.

What do you intend to achieve by teaching these courses?

We are out to engage the public, we are here partnering with government to provide value. When government indentified these resources then we thought we can do capacity building. So in us teaching these courses we are building capacity and also providing a service.

Uganda's oil and gas industry is nearing take off, how ready and competitive are your students?

They are very competitive, that’s what we have done, making them ready for work in the oil sector. Like I said, those we have trained are now working in the industry. Our students are ready to work once they graduate.

That is why have we have partnered with international organizations like Institute of Public and Private Partnerships (IP3), we are also trying to target other universities to support using delivering this education.

The most marketable jobs in the extractives industry are the engineering related jobs, when are you starting to offer engineering courses since there is a skills gap?

It is something we are looking at and by August next year we will be able to roll out these engineering courses. You will get the details later when we are ready.

Uganda drafted a local content policy which tries to minimize import of goods and services, what kind of relationship do you have with oil companies since they will the ones providing jobs?

We have a very wonderful relationship with oil and gas companies; that’s how we have been able to take our students to oil fields for tours and practical studies. Every student has been to oil fields.

We recently partnered with the College of Natural Science in Makerere. We signed a MoU so we will be implementing some of the training here at Victoria University.

And what have been the challenges in conducting these courses?

It’s a new a field, highly specialized, sometimes it’s very difficult to get the trainers to do the job but we have managed to assemble a good team to ensure we have produce quality students ready to work in this demanding sector. Victoria University has managed to attract the best trainers.

Where do you see Victoria University in 5 to 10 years?

We are fronting ourselves to be the best university in east and central Africa.

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