The idea of starting a University in the Rwenzori region was conceived in 2000 and Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) was registered and incorporated as a company Limited by Guarantee on 28th June 2002. The University is aimed at being an educational and service centre for the Community and furthermore an institution for research: libraries, laboratories and archives to give the opportunity for scientific research.
The purpose of establishing the University in this way was to ensure that no individual or group of individuals could have a financial stake in the University with the purpose of taking a profit for themselves. All surpluses, if any, must, by design be retained and used for the development of the University. The other purpose of establishing the University in this way was to ensure that it remained in the ownership of the local communities of Rwenzori Region expressed through representation on the University governing bodies. The University is not affiliated with, but is supported by the District Local Councils, the local religious groups, individuals and businesses men of the Rwenzori Region.
By establishing the University in this way it would remain very sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the communities in the region and that the courses offered and the manner in which they are taught would be decided in reference to the needs of the community. This in turn would nurture a close relationship between the University and the Community to the mutual benefit of both. The students are placed with local businesses as part of their training so gaining experience and employers would be able to recruit students whom they have already found to be satisfactory. This level of co-operation would give employers the incentive and confidence to approach the University with ideas for development and also in problem solving.
Although the University is to be connected closely with the business community of the Region it would also be sensitive to the social and cultural needs of the community and will establish research and other links to foster the coherent and ordered development of the Region through the cultural changes that are already taking place and which can be expected to accelerate in the future.
The founding committee consisted of a group of people who through consultation with people recognized this need for a University in the Rwenzori Region which would serve all communities in the area and beyond. The core group consisted of the following persons:
- Hon. Justice Seth T. Manyindo (Chairperson, Chairman Judicial Service Commission.);
- Prof. Oswald K. Ndoleriire (Vice Chairperson, Dean Faculty of Arts, Makerere University);
- Hon. Prof. Edward B. Rugumayo (Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industry, Chancellor Kampala University);
- Hon. Maj. Tom R. Butime (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs);
- Dr. Jockey B. Nyakaana (Head, Department of Geography, Makerere University)
- Fr. Albert B. Byaruhanga (Presidential Special Advisor; Developmental Coordinator,
- Fort Portal Diocese);
- Hon. Percy Night Tuhaise (Deputy Director Law Development Centre; Deputy Minister for Land, Tooro Kingdom);
- Mr. Yusuf Karmali (Managing Director, Gomba Fishing Industries Ltd);
- Ms. Charlotte Karungi (Lecturer, Department of History, Makerere University);
- Dr. Arseni R. Semaana (Former Head, Department of Agricultural Extension Education, Makerere University; Minister of Agriculture, Tooro Kingdom)
- Eng. Dr. Albert Rugumayo (Lecturer Makerere University)
The above constituted the Steering Committee which organized many meetings in Kampala and Fort Portal to discuss and nurture the idea. In the process the group grew in size and thinking. By late 2001, five committees had been formed, namely, the Steering Committee of nine people; Finance, Planning and Administration Committee of ten people; Fundraising Committee of seven people, Curriculum Committee of twelve people and Publicity and International Relations Committee of fourteen people. There was also a Project Advocate, Mr. Ben Kabiito.
The extra people included representatives from the LC5s in the immediate Catchment Area: Kabarole, Kasese, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge and Bundibugyo, all the Secondary Schools teaching to A-level and other interested parties. The number currently acting as members of the Steering Committee is 27.