Designs above by William Kituuka
By Francis Kagolo
Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, the chancellor Makerere University, has appointed Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu as the new vice chancellor. Ddumba, who beat Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe to the job, will replace Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba who has been serving in acting capacity for about three years. “I am pleased to inform you that I have appointed you vice-chancellor of Makerere University with effect from September 1, 2012,” Kagonyera wrote in a letter addressed to Ddumba on Tuesday. The University Council a fortnight ago fronted Ddumba and Nawangwe for the university’s top-most job. Out of the 18 council members who voted, Ddumba emerged the best with 14 votes as Nawangwe tied with Prof. Edward Kirumira at 11 votes. In the second tie-breaking round Nawangwe managed 10 votes to beat Kirumira. The 90-year-old university has been gripped by tension over the race, until Kagonyera appointed Ddumba. Who is Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu? The 59-year-old professor of economics remained in the race as the lead contender. He is not a new face in this race, having contested against Baryamureeba in 2009. Ddumba has on several occasions acted as the deputy vice chancellor for finance and administration, besides being one of the longest serving deans (now principals). Besides bein once a member of the University Senate, the institution’s chief academic organ, for over two decades, he has been the head of economics since 1998 when it was a mere department and has seen it grow into an institute, faculty and now a fully-fledged college. Besides the overall transformation of the faculty/college, he is recognized for fighting duplication of courses, insisting that the practice would churn out half-baked graduates who are neither critical thinkers nor problem solvers. Ddumba is a product of Savio Junior School and St. Mary’s College Kisubi where he attended his primary and secondary education respectively before joining Makerere University. It is from Makerere University that he graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s of arts in economics degree. In 1979, he acquired a master’s degree in economics from the University of Waterloo in Canada, before doing a PhD, still in economics, at Makerere University. In his lecturing career spanning 35 years, Ddumba has supervised over 80 dissertations, including PhD and Master’s and has about 30 publications to his name. As chairman Centenary Bank for over 10 years, he is credited for seeing the growth of a hitherto microfinance institution into the fourth best performing commercial bank in the country. Over the years, Ddumba has also served at the University of Waterloo (Canada), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Legon (Ghana), University of Swaziland, Nkwame Nkurumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) either as external examiner, part-time lecturer or external Vetter for staff promotions. He has consulted for various UN agencies including UNDP, FAO, WHO, WFP, and others like USAID and the Swedish Government, among others.