The most disturbing news to the Community of St. Mary's College Kisubi, the week that has ended is: "We have now learnt that the Cancer that is disturbing Brother (Dr) Cosmas Kafeero, has spread to other organs [digestive system] subsequently making him very weak. His doctors totally ruled out any further operations to contain the cancer.
There is no quick fix to the situation… He needs our prayers to bear the current discomfort he is going through."
I thank God that I was able to reach out to Brother Kafeero at the time of the preparations for the SMACK Centenary, and indeed he was resourceful. Below, I have attempted to reproduce what the 'learned' Brother told me so that those who do not know him can get to understand him and his works.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
1974 - 1979
DUC IN ALTUM
Brother (Dr) Cosmas Kafeero Headmaster – (1980-1983)
The Brother has a PhD
Brother Cosmas Kafeero the Headmaster
Brother Cosmas Kafeero was the second black Headmaster at St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK). He decentralized power and had a human approach to his staff.
Before he was appointed Headmaster, Brother Kafeero used to ride in a Datsun Car seen in the picture and he used to be a practical Sports teacher.
The Brother seized on the new chapter of the political scene after the removal of Idi Amin from Presidency to establish a democratic administration at SMACK. This was against the background that he had been at St. Mary’s since 1960 and was quite acquainted with the strength and weaknesses of the school. He borrowed a leaf from the USA High School Administration and from sister schools here in Uganda, that is Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, Gayaza High School to mention a few. A Constitution was drafted to involve all students and teachers in the management of the school.
Hon. Namirembe Bitamazire (third from right) visited the College during Brother Kafeero’s term as Headmaster
Pro-UPC students dominated the first elected student body. The Head Prefect had arms and a room at Lake Victoria Hotel. A student purge had to be taken and 96 students were given an indefinite suspension. The Headmaster ably defended this decision when the Ministry of Education raised hell out of the issue. The new innovation in the students’ administration helped to eliminate students’ riots.
Things however were not to be that smooth sailing. The school was made part of the Bush War by UPC stalwarts. The people who featured significantly were Night Kulabako a Sub-County chief at Katabi, Paul Muwanga (Vice-President; but with Executive Powers), Oyite Ojok and Tito Okello (Army Commander).
Night Kulabako – The Gombolola Chief Who gave Bro. Kafeero hard time
The Elections were held and UPC emerged victor, but it was alleged that UPC had stolen the victory and results were contested. This led to political conflicts with a vengeance. This saw the Birth of Museveni’s Bush War and Kayira’s Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM). While Museveni was in the Luweero Triangle, Kayira stationed his troops in Mpigi District; and St. Mary’s College happened to have belonged to Mpigi (though now it is in Wakiso District).
St. Mary’s College entered the arena of armed struggle following Kayira’s attack on Malire (Lubiri) Army Barracks, which he mounted from around Rubaga Cathedral in 1981.
Kayira’s casualties were ferried along Lake Victoria to Kisubi Hospital. Apparently, intelligence was leaked to Night Kulabako the Sub-County Chief at Katabi and the Commander of the 6th Battalion, that the wounded Kayira men had received treatment at Brother Kafeero’s Kisubi Hospital. It was alleged that Brother Kafeero was harbouring Kayira’s men in the school. At this time, Kayira’s men were within about 5 kilometers in the forests and jungle surrounding the shores of Lake Victoria. Not only was the Headmaster called a fool; he was also labeled an enemy of the country. That he was running a Hospital where Kayira’s men were treated, printing Munno and Musizi where articles criticizing the government were run. That he was soon to face the arm of government. (Indeed he was later forced to go to exile to Kenya – Editor)
Kaweesa with his Late wife Teo Nalonga
On November 6, 1981 Teo Nalonga who was 6 months pregnant; a nurse at Kisubi Hospital and wife of Mr Kaweesi (a Quartermaster at St. Mary’s College Kisubi and Chairman of the Democratic Party branch of Kawuku) was arrested and interrogated by torturing. Night Kulabako and the soldiers who were involved in the torture wanted to know from Teo the whereabouts of Mr Kaweesi.
The soldiers were holding her legs and feet and Night tossing herself on the pregnant belly! Later on, Teo died!
The report of the Postmortem, which was done at Entebbe Hospital, indicated that the cause of death was a ruptured uterus, which led to a stillbirth. These were however warning signals to Brother Kafeero.
The Late Paulo Muwanga
There was a letter dated January 7, 1982, which was dropped in the compound of Kisubi Parish Church that was summoning Brother Kafeero to Abaita Babiri (trading center 18 miles Entebbe Highway) for an important meeting. Three people who eventually became a thorn in the flesh of the Headmaster addressed the meeting. These were Sam Mugwisa, Paul Muwanga and Night Kulabako. In the meeting, Brother Kafeero was the topic of castigation and insult. There were questions like “What does that stupid fool Kafeero think he is?” “What does he consider himself to be?” “Is he bullet proof?” He has developed a habit of insulting His Excellence the President in his papers; Musizi and Munno. Earlier, it was alleged that Brother Kafeero threatened to kill Vice President Paulo Muwanga, Oyite Ojok and Tito Okello when he interfered with the Presidential convoy at Savio School… the matters went to court, Kafeero was implicated a collaborator with the rebels!
A week after the Abaita Babiri meeting, another letter was dropped at Kisubi Parish Church. The letter was instructing Brother Kafeero to summon all people on Kisubi Hill to be addressed. The institutions to be met included St. Mary’s College Kisubi, Savio School, Kisubi Hospital, Kisubi Parish, Mt. St. Teresa, Kisubi Boys. The others included St. Joseph Technical Institute, Kisubi Seminary and Gogonya Convent. All the parties assembled at St. Mary’s College main football pitch. Brother Kafeero was told in no uncertain terms that if ever Kisubi Hospital treated wounded rebels without the army being informed, a common grave would be dug in the football field and all would be buried alive!
Two days later, at around 6pm, a deafening artillery fire tore through the evening atmosphere. At that time Brother Kafeero was driving to Nabinonya (Lake Victoria side) to switch off the Water pump. He was stopped at Mt. St. Teresa Carpentry Shop where he found soldiers manning a roadblock. He was told that the road to Nabinonya had been mined.
He also learnt that the soldiers were destined to SMACK. These soldiers ransacked Savio School staff. The members of staff of St. Mary’s College who had come to the scene for curiosity sake were beaten and told to empty their pockets “toa yote”.
Brother Kafeero turned around and instructed all the boys of St. Mary’s College to leave their dormitories and classrooms and assemble in an orderly manner in front of the school chapel, and that they were not to ask any questions nor answer any put to them. The soldiers arrived at the school, made a thorough search for the rebels and unfortunately found none.
Several days later, another letter was delivered to the Headmaster’s office instructing the Headmaster to take all the students to Katabi, the Sub-county chief’s office so that screening for the rebels is done. Brother Kafeero hired buses of Uganda Transport Company (UTC) to take all the students to Entebbe. No rebel was identified. The sheer number of boys in St. Mary’s College overwhelmed the Sub-county chief, and she simply told the Headmaster to get the students back to school.
The two photos above show the fundraising which Brother Kafeero was involved in. in the photos, the Late Prof. Sebastian Kyalwazi as Board Chairman was greatly involved.
As SMACK 75 Celebrations approached in June 1983, threats to the school continued. A day before the 75th Anniversary for SMACK, the Headmaster Brother Cosmas Kafeero and the Deputy Headmaster Late J. C. Kiwanuka received letters instructing them to leave in the interest of National Security.
The evening of that day, armed men heavily guarded the school premises. Brother Kafeero had to leave Uganda for Nairobi, Kenya. In the meantime, Honourable Ssebaana Kizito (a Democratic Party MP) brought this matter to the attention of Parliament, but the decision was never to be reversed.
Hon. Ssebaana Kizito
SMACK OB Ssemanobe
When Brother Kafeero was expelled from Uganda, 24 hours before the D-Day of the 75 years’ Celebrations for SMACK, it was the Late Mr Moro, Managing Director of Stirling, Honourable Ssebaana Kizito, Mr Ssemanobe (Operation’s Manager, Uganda General Merchandise Ltd), who fund-raised Kenya Shillings 20,000 which helped him to pay the fees for his sister and 7 nieces and nephews, whom he used to support through offering his services as a teacher in various schools. After meeting the fees, the balance of the money helped him start off life as a refugee in Kenya.
The Origin of Works on SMACK-75 Road
(As told to Willy Kituuka by Brother Kafeero)
It was on Monday 6, June 1983 when Mr. Moro, the then Managing Director of Stirling Road Construction Company called at St. Mary’s College Kisubi wanting to see the Headmaster. At that time, the Headmaster’s office was under key and lock following a letter from Prof. Isaac Newton Ojok terminating with immediate effect the school administration. Mr Moro traced Brother Kafeero the Headmaster at the Brothers’ Residence. He wanted a place in senior one for his son Kizito. The Headmaster replied that there was no place available! Mr Moro went to his knees, he said he had served the country for so many years and can’t deserve a place at the school! This reaction touched the Headmaster, and a place was offered.
Some of the tractors which worked on the SMACK 75 Road - a project during Brother Kafeero's headmastership.
Mr Moro asked what he could offer in return to show his appreciation. Brother Kafeero told him that they needed a road, and that the Finance Committee had just enough money to cater for other constructions and the meal on the D-Day for the SMACK –75 Celebrations. Moro asked, “The road only?” He said this was no problem on his part. Mr Moro promised to come back to the school the following day to work out the necessary details for the road construction. On Tuesday 7 June 1983 Moro sent a Surveyor. The Surveying was done and on 8th June Road Working Machines were got from Katende along Masaka Highway where Stirling Company was working and stationed at SMACK. The road was to pass through an area covered with large trees and people’s gardens. Moro compensated the garden owners and work was started at very high speed so as to be complete by June 11 for the D-Day Celebrations on June 12 when the road would be commissioned.
When the road touched Kampala-Entebbe highway, the agents of the Ministry of Works stopped the exercise, saying, written permission was required from the Minister to authorize the approach to the Highway. The road was however graded and surface dressed with pre-mix bitumen. Moro promised to complete the work on the road so that it could last at least 10 years. Unfortunately, Moro was murdered as he waited for the gate to his residence to be opened at Muyenga.
The SMACK 75 Road
SMACK had a new road, named SMACK 75, which was commissioned on June 11. Unfortunately, Brother Kafeero did not attend because security personnel had threatened to arrest him on June 10 if he did not leave the country immediately!
The Historical Perception to the Science Orientation at SMACK
By Brother (Dr) Cosmas Kafeero
Former Headmaster SMACK (1980 – 1983)
Over the years, St. Mary’s College Kisubi has been variously referred to as the cradle, nursery, humdinger and an institution that generates some of the most brilliant brains in Science, Technology and Medicine. The school has an inbuilt bias towards Science and its “search engine,” that is Mathematics. The few Arts students taken annually at A’ level constitute a formidable force in the Judiciary and the World of business. These attributes are justified by the academic performance in A’ level since 1962 when for the first time in History, the College graduated over 50 students to join Makerere College (when it was a Constituent College of London University). The record reveals a remarkable and unique abilities and strong inclination towards sciences.
Dr. Alex Godwin Coutinho, one among the many Old Boy Scientists created by the Science orientation of SMACK.
Throughout the period, 1962 - 2005, A’ level candidates taking Science have been making up 90% of the total number of graduates from our Alma Mater. The Alma Mater boasts of Excellent Scientists, Engineers, Medical Doctors, Agriculturalists, and Veterinary Doctors to mention some categories.
The Science Foundation explained.
The author has consulted extensively and the following are the facts behind the extraordinary Science and Technology Human Resource contribution by SMACK.
The History of St. Mary’s College Kisubi was the cause and effect of the coming of the Brothers of Christian Instruction to East Africa in 1926. Since that time, the Brothers have run the school. This cultural intermarriage (White and Black) has given a unique characteristic compared to other schools such as King’s College Buddo, Gayaza High School, and Namilyango College.
It is alleged that the first French Speaking Missionaries from Canada deliberately, tactfully and strategically laid the Foundation of Science and its search engine Mathematics. Buddo in contrast was founded on British English. Buddo’s goal was to educate leaders especially for the developing political scene. The strategy was to develop an English Culture for the Buddonians that is to be eloquent and fluent as public speakers. Kisubi Brothers tactfully avoided the hurdle of eloquence and fluency in English by taking on Science of matter, energy, number and size. These options do not require a lot of spoken language.
These strategies have been the means to attaining set goals completely in contrast with most schools, not only in Uganda but also in East Africa and beyond. These strategies prescribe key policy arenas and decision points, taking into account identified and achievable goals and operational circumstances of the school, SMACK in a manner, which has warranted ease and convenience of optional operation and maximal accomplishment. The underlying consideration in evolving the necessary human resource and skills has been the desire on the part of the Brothers to depart from the business – as – usual or stereotype or status quo approach to a strategic approach to development. The strategic approach has been consistently to be focused, with long-term in object and dynamic in policy and decision making outlook.
Thus, the formulation and implementation of strategies for attaining Science – Mathematics programme entailed consideration of several factors and activities: The Brothers embarked on active recruitment of teachers of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics from Canada, and Economics and Geography from United Kingdom. Second, most of the Missionary Brothers that were recruited especially in the period of 1950-1970 were young, flexible, and resilient with little English. Hence, a crush programme had to be organized for them to learn English language. These could spend about 6 months at Southampton or Liverpool in England learning the language.