By Max Patrick Ocaido
Correspondences have detailed how Makerere University top bosses struck a deal to ‘favour’ reigning Miss World Africa Quiin Abenakyo to help her attain a University degree.
Abenakyo,22, was among thousands of students who graduated during the University’s 69th graduation lot where she was pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Business Computing from Makerere University Business School (MUBS).
However, media later questioned her eligibility to graduate on grounds that her name was not in the printed graduation list and rather ‘prefixed’ following her new celebrated status of Miss World Africa having emerged the third in the overall Miss World beauty contest last year.
According to correspondences that Kampala Post has seen, Abenakyo concedes that she got a retake in Financial Management course unit in her second year and was meant to redo it in her third year during recess semester as required by the University academic policy and guidelines.
However, Abenakyo in the letter addressed to the Principal, MUBS dated August 20, 2018, requested for a special date for which she would do her retake because she would be busy pursuing the Miss Uganda/World dream at the time the paper had been scheduled.
“This exam is scheduled for 1st September 2018 and unfortunately I have been involved in the Miss Uganda beauty pageant and we have to travel to the United States with the Miss Uganda team. This is going to be followed by training, activities and miss world competition and I am requesting to do this paper when I return from miss world competition,” Abenakyo’s letter reads.
She adds, “I expect that this will end by the end of December and I would wish to graduate with the rest of my colleagues in January. I request that I am given the opportunity to retake the paper when I return.”
Subsequently, Prof. Waswa Balunywa, Principal, MUBS wrote to Makerere University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe requesting him to clear Abenakyo and allow her to do a special retake after her return from the Miss World beauty contest so that she graduates with the rest of the students on January 18, 2019.
“She [Abenakyo] wrote to us before she travelled to the US requesting to sit the papers when she returned. Fortunately for her, she won the Miss Uganda contest which led to contest in the Miss World Competition but unfortunately this made her stay away from Uganda until December 19, 2018. She has now written requesting for an opportunity to sit this examination and possibly graduate in January 2019,” Prof. Balunywa said in his letter.
He adds, “We would like to support this student to graduate so that she can be able to move on with career plans. We would like to give her a special examination so that we are able to mark it and submit her results after deciding on her final results. If permission is granted we hope she can sit the examination this Saturday, January 12, 2019.”
In another correspondence, on January 2nd, 2019, Abenakyo again wrote to Prof. Balunywa reminding him of her earlier request to have a special examination. It is at this juncture that Makerere University VC Prof Nawangwe counter-signed on this letter giving a nod of no objection to the request.
“I have no objection, let us support the student who represented Uganda in the Miss World beauty competition…,” reads Nawangwe’s reply.
As a result, Abenakyo was later reportedly given a special examination, marked and results submitted. This could explain why her name was not on the graduation list.
Prof. Nawangwe however, insists that Abenakyo met all the University requirements to graduate.
“Quiin graduated legally after completing all requirements. The record is available,” he tweeted.
According to Makerere University academic policy and guidelines, if the Board of a College/Faculty/School /Institute is satisfied that a student has no justifiable reason for having been absent from a particular examination, such a student shall receive a fail (F) Grade for the Course(s) he/she had not sat the examination in.
But if the Board of a College/Faculty/School/Institute is satisfied that a student was absent from coursework assessment and or a final examination due to justifiable reason(s) such as sickness or loss of a parent/guardian, then a Course Grade of ABS shall be assigned to that Course(s).
The guidelines further provide that a student who provides credible reason for failure to complete coursework assessment or to attend an examination based on above may be permitted to ‘sit’ the deferred examination or coursework assignment when the course(s) is being offered again and Students needing a deferred exam must submit application to their respective Dean’s or Director’s Office.
Student Petitions Over Abenakyo Special Treatment
Meanwhile, David Musiri, a 2nd-year student pursuing Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (External) has petitioned Makerere University Academic Registrar calling for an investigation into the matter.
Musiri wants Prof Nawangwe to step aside from chairing Senate during the period of this inquiry.
“Her name [Abenakyo] was not in the Graduation Book. Her CGPA is unknown, and her peers are green with envy. Why should the rest of us suffer to register normal progress yet beauty queens will eventually receive preferential treatment,” Musiri wonders in his petition.
He has vowed to pursue the matter with the Inspector General of Government (IGG) if the University management does not address the matter.