Prof. William Bazeyo, the outgoing acting deputy vice chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration (DVCFA) at Makerere University (Mak) officially handed over office to his replacement, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya, who will also serve in acting capacity.
The ceremony, which occurred on Nov. 30, was presided over by the Chairperson of Mak Council Lorna Magara.
Speaking at the event, the Mak Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe hailed Prof. Bazeyo for the tremendous achievements registered during his term of office.
“One of Prof. Bazeyo’s tremendous achievements has been to move the University out of huge debt, with the most outstanding one; the In-House benefits scheme, almost completely settled,” said Prof. Nawangwe, according to an official statement.
He also commended Prof. Bazeyo for his negotiation skills, which enabled the University to secure the Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) from the government of Uganda.
Mak-RIF is the first of its kind Government funding dedicated purely to supporting research and innovations at Makerere University, and is open to competitive bidding by any member of staff.
The vice chancellor equally expressed gratitude that Prof. Bazeyo was handing over to Dr. Nabukenya who is known for her steadfastness, prolific research and grant-winning abilities.
“Dr. Nabukenya has been very responsive when called upon to serve on various University Committees and we pledge to continue according to you all the necessary support until a substantive DVCFA is appointed,” he said as per the official statement.
Prof. William Bazeyo had been serving the university since August 23, 1993, until he attained the mandatory retirement age on June 22, 2017.
He will serve on a post-retirement contract until May 2021. He is renowned for transforming the School of Public Health (MakSPH) from being virtually unknown to the second-best School of Public Health on the African continent.
He said he took up the role of DVCFA after observing the media coverage of Makerere’s indebtedness, need to achieve research-led status, need to improve staff remuneration, unpaid retirement benefits and the absence of an institutional grants policy as some of the challenges that spurred him on.
“On the research front, I am glad to say that today, we have 595 project groups concurrently engaged with full funding by Government under Mak-RIF. And whereas Government had initially committed to avail this funding for only five years, they are now willing to funding every financial year having seen Makerere’s demonstrated capacity,” Prof. Bazeyo said.
Speaking about Dr. Nabukenya, the professor said: “I have never seen an office as challenging as this but the fact that I have tried means that you too can do the same through initiatives like strategic planning, participatory budgeting and a host of others as outlined in my handover report.
"I pledge that I will be available to introduce you and support you where you need me.”
In her acceptance speech, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya thanked the University Council for giving her the opportunity to act as DVCFA.
“I thank the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara, vice chancellor, deputy vice chancellor (Academic Affairs) and all members of Management for being part of this handover ceremony. I am humbled to be assigned the role of next Acting DVCFA, a great responsibility and at the same time, a great honour,” she said.
She paid tribute to her predecessor Prof. Bazeyo for the achievements registered during his term of leadership and for not losing sight of his goals, especially in research, despite the challenges faced.