NHCE Decides on Ankole University Fate

Bishop Katonene was challenged to show leadership in the AWIST saga

Zadock Amanyisa


Following a three-year disagreement between West Ankole Diocesan Bishop Right. Rev. Yona Katoneene and Concerned Christians from Sheema district over the location of the Ankole Western Institute of Science and Technology (AWIST), buy more about the National Council of Higher Education (NHCE) has finally decided that the University project should be established at Kabwohe in Sheema district.

Header advertisement

The NHCE decision comes after a directive made by President Museveni in January when he met a delegation from the diocese in Fort Portal that the body which regulates higher institutions steps in to clear the mess.

The deal was reached at during a meeting that took place in Kampala on Wednesday presided over by the executive Director Prof Opuda Asibo.

According to a source, illness the meeting was also convened to bring the conflict between Bishop Katoneene and Concerned Christians to an end.

It was attended by Dr. Ellioda Tumwesigye, who is the Minister for Health and MP for Sheema North, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister for Water and Environment and Minister Mary Karooro for Gender, who is also the Woman MP for Bushenyi district.

Others were Bishop Katoneene, University Chancellor, Prof. Elly Katunguuka; the new chairman University governing council, Rev. Can. Arthur Atwine; the Diocesan Secretary, Mr. Marvin Baryaruha; diocesan Chancellor, Hon. Yorokamu Katwiremu; and Commissioner of Police Mr. Laban Muhabwe.

Can. Dr. Edidah Mujinya, the University Principal, Yesse Mubangizi – a member of the Concerned Christians; Mr. Robert Muhanguzi, the Academic Registrar and Bushenyi District Chairperson; Mr. Willis Bashaasha and Senior educationist Yoram Tibasiimwa also attended the gathering.

The participants were selected from both sides of Sheema and Bushenyi since the conflict has for a long time been seen to be in between the two districts and even the selection was made clear to satisfy all sides.

According to the source, Prof. Opuda, told participants the meeting was convened to prepare for the existence of a fully fledged University at Kabwohe in the near future despite prevailing disagreements.

Officials from the NCHE including Pius Achang, who is in charge of Quality assurance and Mr Innocent Nkwatsibwe, attended the session.

It is reported that Prof. Opuda told the meeting that as an institution, AWIST cannot be allowed to open up branches until it grows into a University in the time to come.

Opuda was quoted as saying: “We only have AWIST as an institution with plans of developing into a University and it is currently a project and it cannot be allowed to open branches. We have been dealing with it as an institution whose campus is at Kabwohe as its location. We don’t have Katungu campus in our books.”

Prof. Opuda also said Bishop Katonene is a fountain of honor at the University project and should not be at the center of the ongoing conflict with Christians adding that it would be bad and unfortunate for him to be heard in quarrels of the location of the institution since Christians look at him as a father.

According to a source that gave the information on a condition of anonymity, some of the resolutions made in the meeting included that the old university project governing council chaired by Prof. Kamuntu comprises resourceful educationists who should be allowed to take on the project up to 20th March 2015 when their tenure will expire.

He said there would be a peaceful handover of the tools to the incoming council chaired by Prof. Elly Katunguka.

The meeting agreed the old council headed by Prof Kamuntu should be invited for a pleasant handover and honors be accorded to them for their distinguished services.

Prof. Opudi promised to pay a visit to Katungu hill in Bushenyi to acquaint himself with the requirements of the area having a branch of the university.

Task force 

NCHE also recommended the formation of a task force committee composed of eminent people to fast-track the acquisition of a provisional license for AWIST for it to begin operating as a university.

It also okayed the proposal by AWIST’s founding body; West Ankole diocese to fast track subsequent establishment of branches or campuses in different areas of the diocese on grounds that the university has not yet taken root.

Prof. Opuda also urged the team which attended the meeting that Ankole is a sensitive part of Uganda which has produced important political leaders for the country, insisting it would not sound good if those leaders involved themselves in conflicts over the location of a University.

“We have been blessed by Ministers with wisdom from Ankole region who need to honor their origin and stop fighting for a university branch,” he counseled.

Efforts to reach Bishop Katoneene and Can. Rev. Arthur Atwine for a comment about what had been agreed upon by the meeting hit a snag as their known phone contacts were switched off.

When contacted, Mr. Willis Bashaasha, the Bushenyi district chairperson who also attended the meeting, referred us to the NCHE for an independent communication.

Mr. Yoram Tibasimwa who also attended the meeting denied being part of the meeting saying that he had gone to Kampala for other assignments.


Header advertisement
To Top