President Museveni has pledged that government will construct a technical school in Gulu in memory of late Brig Pierino Okoya who was killed in 1970.
“What these bad people don’t remember is that there’s God, all those who did those bad things like Amin, where are they? They all ended up badly and here we are remembering in appreciation of Okoya but not Amin. We are going to set up a technical school somewhere in the memory of Brig Okoya,” Museveni said before being informed that the deceased’s family has already donated 10 acres of land for the project.
The president made the remarks today during the reburial ceremony of the remains of the late Brig Okoya in Palaro, Gulu District.
Brig Okoya was the deputy army Commander during the government of former President Apollo Milton Obote who was allegedly murdered on January,25, 1970 by Idi Amin Dada who was the army commander at that time.
President Museveni who sympathized with the bereaved family, applauded the late senior army officer who joined the army in 1948 for his good service to Uganda and attributed his potential to the education he attained during his time
“Mzee Tito Okello had already joined the army in 1930 but by the time Okoya was killed in 1970, he was already a brigadier when Tito was still a major and that could be because of the education he had attained,” he noted.
Museveni further expounded that the problems of Africa including Uganda started on a bad foundation at independence because of the political leaders who emphasized politics of identity (tribes and religions) and made mistakes in their methods of work.
“Those people were making mistakes in ideology but also made mistakes in their methods of work. I was told that Okoya challenged Amin that he ran away when Obote’s life was in danger and that is why he arranged for these people to kill him. I had that story as told by Oyite Ojok.”.
“The two mistakes of wrong ideology of emphasizing identity rather than needs of people and the wrong methods of work resulted into a lot of problems like these killings that happened in the past governments. So many people were killed. But when they invite me for these remembrances, I feel happy because we punished all those people who killed our people.”
The president also noted that the NRM government is able to reconcile people because it doesnt believe in the politics of sectarianism.
“Me and my group in the 1960s, we said this politics of identity is wrong, we should go for politics of people’s needs and people’s needs are the same. That is how we started and the ability to build a strong army is because we don’t look at tribes and we don’t look at religion. In the army it’s, can you shoot properly? Not in the Acholi or the Ankole way, that is all we want. So these false identities are causing a lot of problems and we should not bring them again,” he advised.
At the same function, the people of Palaro donated 50 acres of land to the president and he promised that it will be used by the State House to set up a demonstration farm in the area.
The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo explained that the death of someone dear to you is painful but the death through a perpetration done with malice like it was the case with Brig Okoya is devastating and traumatizing.
“I was in mid primary when Brig Okoya was killed, darkness gathered the districts of Acholi but what you have done has healed the wounds,” Dollo said.
He also called for peace building to solve differences among Ugandans.
“The time is now for us to speak to each other to build peace at a personal, cultural and state level.”
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem revealed that he was deliberately invited to address the mourners because his late father Tito Okello Lutwa was the one who was delegated by President Obote to represent him at the burial of Gen Okoya in 1970.
“The UPDF leadership invited me, they told me that just like how your father did, please come to this function and do what your father did, hence I’m here,” Hon. Okello Oryem said.
Oryem who narrated how Brig. Okoya and his wife Anna were killed, commiserated with the bereaved family, saying that their death was a sad one.
He also disclosed that their families were close and used to relate a lot.
The Chief of Defense Forces, Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi said the UPDF commiserates with the family of Brig Okoya who was brutally killed after spending 22 years of service in the army.
“This is being exhibited by the large number of officers who have attended this function. Circumstances surrounding his death are intriguing. The sad story is fully documented and it’s being told until today and I don’t need to repeat it. We shall live to remember Brig Okoya for his exceptional service ,” he said.
The Pageya Clan Chief Rwot Yusuf Okwonga Adek lauded President Museveni for being a merciful and good leader who extends an olive branch to his political opponents and offers an opportunity to work with them.
He also praised Museveni for championing several good causes like the fight against HIV and Covid and initiating several programs that steer the development of Uganda.
He further appealed to the president to promote more sons of Acholi to be like the late Okoya.
The head of the organising committee of the ceremony, Lt Gen Charles Otema commended Gen Museveni for according a decent burial to the late senior army officer.
“When guiding us as army officers, our parents always talk about the late Pierino Okoya, all of us who come from Acholi know. While those who were in power that time when he was killed (Amin as army Commander and Obote as President), none of those two came to send off our brother except they delegated our brother Tito Okello Lutwa but for you have always fully supported us to send off our brothers and today you have demonstrated again. May God reward you and we assure you as Acholi officers we are fully behind you,” Gen Otema said.
Retired Captain Johnson Lajolo, the son of the late Okoya thanked the president for extending support to their family and giving their beloved one a decent burial, 53 years later since his demise.
“This should not only stop to the family of the late Okoya, it should be extended to other families that had fighters like ours, across Uganda,” he said.
The Gulu District chairperson, Christopher Opiyo Ateker informed the president that the people of Acholi now testify the excellent work the NRM government is doing under his leadership due to the progressive development in the sub region.
He also noted that the people of Gulu have listened to the president’s wealth creation message and they have embraced the four acre model farming to sustain their household incomes.
“However, we still need extension workers to guide them .We have so far received over Shs5bn Parish Development Model funds but the beneficiaries still need to undergo financial literacy, and inculcate the culture of saving so that they are able to utilize the funds well so that your dream of poverty alleviation is realised.”
The ceremony was also attended by the NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong, ministers, Members of Parliament, UPDF officers, religious and cultural leaders, among others.
Brig Okoya murder
Brigadier Pierino Okoya was murdered on the 25th of January, 1970, allegedly by then army Commander Idi Amin under the government of Apollo Milton Obote.
He was found by his driver lying dead together with his wife Anna, outside their house in Gulu.
The murder of the army officer followed a heated meeting between Okoya and Amin after an assassination attempt on then President Obote during the Uganda People’s Congress Delegates Conference at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
After getting information that the president had been injured in an assassination attempt, Brig Okoya, who was at the Officers’ mess at Acacia Avenue in Kololo took charge of the president’s security, making sure that he was taken to the hospital and accorded maximum protection.
Okoya was however taken by surprise that army commander, Maj Gen Idi Amin could not be located at that time and all his radio messages were closed.
The following morning, Okoya and some officers went to his residence in Kololo but could not find him but Amin appeared later, saying he had been at his private home in Bombo.
During a Defence Council meeting chaired by Minister of Defence Felix Onama, Okoya blamed Amin for failing to take command at the time the head of State was in danger.
This could have angered Amin.
Whereas the meeting was held in late December 1969 and the murder of Brig Okoya happened on January 25th,1970 , a month later.
The government and army instituted teams to probe the murder of the senior army officer.
All investigations pointed to Amin as the mastermind of the murder.
It was alleged that he used Captain Smuts Guwedeko, the then Gulu Air Force Base Commander, to murder Okoya.
The board of the army also came out with a report that Amin used the Air Force to commit the atrocity.
Guwedeko together with Warrant Officer Kasule, an air force technician were detained in April 1970 and taken to Luzira Prison.
When Amin took over the government, the duo was released and promoted. Guwedeko was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and Kasule to Major.
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Prof. Mary Okwakol Steps Down as Chairperson of Uganda National Examinations Board
Prof. Mary Okwakol has concluded her tenure as the Chairperson of the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), a position she held since 2014.
The formal handover ceremony took place, with Prof. Okwakol passing the reins to Prof. Celestino Obua, the Vice Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology. The Minister of State for Higher Education, Hon. John Chrysestom Muyingo, graced the occasion to witness the transition.
Prof. Obua’s appointment was made by the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, on October 12, 2023.
In a statement released by UNEB on November 3, 2023, the Examinations body expressed its appreciation for Prof. Okwakol, who is also recognized as the founding Vice Chancellor of Busitema University, one of Uganda’s nine public universities.
Dan Odongo, the UNEB Executive Director, bid a fond farewell to Prof. Okwakol and acknowledged her service, saying, “We give thanks and praise to the Almighty God for the peaceful years that Professor Mary Okwakol has served as the Chairperson. I say ‘peaceful’ because she was appointed and took over at a time when UNEB had gone through nearly two turbulent years in its governance.”
Odongo further lauded Prof. Okwakol’s leadership, citing her adherence to the principles of good governance. He emphasized that she avoided becoming overly involved in the daily management of the institution, setting a positive example.
Prof. Okwakol assumed the role in 2014, succeeding Fagil Mandy, who had resigned due to President Museveni’s decision to extend the contract of the then UNEB Executive Director, Matthew Bukenya.
UCC Donates Tablets to Enhance Connectivity in Bulambuli District
The Ugandan government, represented by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), has generously distributed free tablets (handset phones) to the residents of the Administration Cell in Bulambuli Town Council, Bulambuli district.
On Thursday, November 2, 2023, the tablets were presented to the community with the aim of fostering improved connectivity and encouraging digital utilization to advance agriculture, business, and education through IT innovation and creativity.
The official handover of these digital devices took place at the Bulambuli district headquarters.
Akimu Womazembe, one of the recipients of these tablets, expressed his gratitude to both the government and UCC for their generous contribution. He highlighted his intention to use the device for communication with his children and other family members, saying, “I am glad to have this gadget because I had no money to buy it. I will use it for communication and my children for studying.”
Another beneficiary, James Wanyoto, emphasized how the tablets would facilitate his grandchildren in conducting research for their studies.
Amir Kamba, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Bulambuli district, urged the recipients to utilize these gadgets for online marketing of their products.
The tablets were accompanied by a solar system designed to recharge them, ensuring sustained usage.
Meanwhile, Allan Tugume from UCC disclosed that the beneficiaries have received orientation on how to make effective use of these devices. He described this initiative as a pilot project initiated by the government of Uganda, with plans to expand it nationwide. Tugume emphasized the goal of ensuring that everyone is connected and informed about current affairs.
Leading Canadian Universities Shine in the 2024 QS World University Rankings
When international students embark on the journey of selecting their Canadian higher education institution, they often rely on trusted rankings and evaluators to guide them in making the best choice. Among these, QS stands as a renowned name in the realm of post-secondary institution ranking providers, acclaimed worldwide for its expertise in assessing higher education institutions on a global scale. Recently, QS unveiled its 2024 World University Rankings, and the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia have secured noteworthy positions on this prestigious list. Below, we present a summary of their rankings and performance in various categories.
- University of Toronto – A Leap to Excellence In the 2023 QS rankings, the University of Toronto (UofT) claimed the second-highest spot among Canadian universities, standing at 34th globally. However, in the 2024 QS World University Rankings, UofT has made a significant advancement, ascending to the 21st position with an impressive overall score of 86.3. This remarkable achievement is attributed to UofT’s exceptional scores in academic reputation, employer reputation, and international ratios. Notably, UofT’s previous ranking at this level was in 2015 when it secured the 20th spot.
- McGill University – Rising Strong In the preceding year, McGill University occupied the 31st position in the QS rankings. Now, in the 2024 QS World University Rankings, McGill has made a notable advancement, securing the 30th position with an overall score of 83.7. Looking ahead, McGill demonstrates remarkable potential as it received high scores, all exceeding 87.5, in academic reputation, employer reputation, and international ratios.
- University of British Columbia – A Significant Climb In 2023, the University of British Columbia (UBC) was ranked 47th in the QS World University Rankings. However, UBC has made a remarkable leap in the 2024 rankings, surging 13 positions to the 34th spot. This substantial progress is attributed to UBC’s impressive scores in academic reputation, employer reputation, and its international faculty ratio. In total, UBC secured an overall score of 81.5, marking its highest-ever rank by QS until this year.
About QS World University Rankings: The QS World University Rankings employ a comprehensive five-factor methodology to evaluate the performance of over 1400 post-secondary institutions across the globe each year. These factors, along with their respective weights, are as follows:
- Academic Reputation (40%): This score is derived from surveys conducted among educators and researchers in higher education institutions.
- Faculty/Student Ratio (20%): QS rewards institutions with low student-to-faculty ratios and small class sizes, emphasizing the importance of a personalized and collaborative learning environment.
- Citations per Faculty (20%): This metric is determined by the number of times faculty members’ research papers have been cited by various publications over the last five years, reflecting the institution’s academic influence.
- Employer Reputation (10%): Employers worldwide are asked to name universities they believe produce the most employable graduates, with local and international distinctions.
- International Faculty/Student Ratio (10%): This factor measures the ratios of international faculty members to domestic faculty members and international students to domestic students, taking into account data verified against government records when available.
For the complete QS 2024 World University Rankings and a detailed breakdown of the scoring system by these factors, please refer to the official QS website. These rankings offer invaluable insights for students seeking the best educational institutions for their academic pursuits.
First Lady Janet Museveni Urges Education Sector Partnerships for Enhanced Learning Environments
Uganda’s First Lady and Education Minister, Janet Museveni, has urged for collaborative efforts within the education sector to enhance the learning environment for school children. During the inauguration of new facilities at St Charles Lwanga Namabaale Primary School in Ndagwe Sub-county, Lwengo District, valued at UGX 9 billion on October 19, Minister Museveni, whose message was conveyed by Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba, stressed the importance of such investments in supporting the government’s commitment to providing inclusive education.
She commended the Cotton On Foundation, an Australian non-governmental organization, for its dedication to positively impacting the lives of the younger generation. Mrs. Museveni emphasized that the newly inaugurated facilities would create an enabling atmosphere for teaching and learning, catering to both pre-primary and primary levels.
The recently unveiled facility follows a three-campus model, with the Lower campus for kindergarten, the middle campus accommodating Primary One to Primary Four, and the upper campus serving Primary Five to Primary Seven.
Cotton On Foundation, known for its holistic approach to education, mental health, and environmental impact, empowers youth to thrive.
Minister Museveni acknowledged the government’s support to over 12,000 schools across the country but highlighted the ongoing need for additional facilities to accommodate learners comfortably at all levels.
In her address, she expressed gratitude to Masaka Diocese Bishop Serverus Jjumba for generously providing the land upon which the new school was constructed. She emphasized the value of the partnership between the government and the Catholic Church in advancing education and social services in Uganda, emphasizing that education is a shared responsibility, and the Church plays a vital role in promoting education for the benefit of current and future learners.
The First Lady encouraged parents to support their children’s educational needs to ensure uninterrupted learning and urged that the new facilities be maintained for the benefit of future generations.
Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba, who represented Minister Janet Museveni, joined in congratulating the school on its high-standard new structures, which are a significant addition to the Namabaale community.
Bishop Jjumba expressed his appreciation for the government’s cooperation with the Cotton On Foundation, which expedited the smooth execution of the project in greater Masaka.
The Namabaale village chairperson, Mr. Emmanuel Bwette, noted that the new structures would provide a significant improvement over the previous poor facilities, reducing children’s exposure to diseases associated with excessive dust.
Claire Najjemba, Country Manager of Cotton On Foundation, revealed that they had constructed over ten classroom blocks, installed four large Rhino water tanks of 275,000 liters each to improve access to water services, and built staff quarters for teachers. The facility also includes multipurpose halls, a dining and kitchen area, a playground, and office blocks.
Najjemba emphasized the organization’s commitment to seeing children thrive from kindergarten to university, urging proper use and maintenance of the structures to ensure children receive the quality education they deserve.
UNEB Confirms Arrest of Chief Invigilator and Headmasters Over Exam Malpractice
Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has officially confirmed the arrest of a chief invigilator at African Pearl Secondary School in Makindye Division, along with three headmasters, in connection with examination malpractice. Jennifer Kalule, UNEB’s spokesperson, acknowledged these developments and revealed that another group of Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) candidates is currently under investigation for suspected malpractice.
The arrest of the chief invigilator from African Pearl Secondary School stems from suspicions of external assistance provided to the second shift of chemistry students during their practical Chemistry Paper 3 examination. A handwritten piece of paper containing potential answers to the practical paper was discovered in the examination room supervised by the invigilator.
According to Section 26 of the UNEB Act of 2021, anyone found negligently allowing unauthorized assistance to a candidate while serving as a supervisor, invigilator, scout, monitor, or special needs education support personnel is committing an offense. If convicted, they may face a fine of up to 20 million Shillings, a prison term of up to five years, or both. The Act also stipulates that registered teachers encouraging malpractice may not only face legal consequences but also disciplinary action following the laws governing the teaching profession, including disqualification.
Furthermore, two headteachers were arrested for electronically sharing and receiving materials that appeared to be examination papers. One headteacher was from Paul Mukasa S.S. in Kalagi, Mukono district, and the other from Kanyabwanga Secondary School in Bushenyi district. They will face legal charges for their involvement in aiding and abetting malpractice.
The proliferation of counterfeit UNEB examination materials on social media platforms has led to an increase in malpractice cases. UNEB has been vigilant in identifying and addressing these issues, and the new UNEB Act imposes severe penalties on individuals found in possession of examination materials, whether genuine or counterfeit.
In Kwania District, the head teacher of Inomo SS was arrested on suspicion of tampering with an envelope containing mathematics Paper 1 examination papers. It is suspected that the contents of the envelope may have been compromised during transportation from the storage center to the school.
Police in Kagadi are also investigating two students from St. Michael S., Nyakoma, who swapped index numbers during the Geography exams, claiming to have forgotten their own. This incident raises concerns of impersonation, similar to a case reported in Kawempe last year, where a “machinery” wrote an exam on behalf of a candidate.
The introduction of the new UNEB Act and increased resources demonstrate UNEB’s commitment to addressing the issue of exam malpractice. Stricter penalties and effective enforcement are seen as steps toward eliminating this problem. However, some critics argue that high stakes associated with national exams create pressure on students and encourage malpractice, advocating for alternative assessment methods to alleviate this stress.
The UCE exams continue, with candidates set to take the Biology (Practical) paper in the morning and the Commerce paper in the afternoon on Day 4. A total of 364,421 candidates have been registered for the exams, which will run until November 17, 2023.
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