Prof. Edward Bitanywaine Rugumayo Appointed 1st Chancellor of MMU

The President of Uganda, His Excellency, Kaguta Yoweri Museveni has appointed with immediate effect Professor Edward Bitanywaine Rugumayo as the 1st Chancellor of Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) on a four year term; subsequent to a recommendation by the University Council.

A memo dated 18th August 2022 to all staff, students, and all other stakeholders of Mountains of the Moon University; signed by Dr. Edmond Kagambe, the University Secretary; states “We are thankful to His Excellency, the President of Uganda and the University Council for recognizing Professor Edward Bitanywaine Rugumayo’s distinguished service as a Politician, Diplomat, Author, Academic and Environmentalist and granting him the opportunity to serve Mountains of the Moon University as 1st Chancellor as a Public University. The University community extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Rugumayo on his appointment and pledges full support during his tenure of service.”

In the exercise of powers conferred upon the President by Section 30 (1) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, 2001 (as amended), the Instrument of Appointment was issued and signed by the President. The chancellor is the Titular Head of the University and presides at all assemblies, confers degrees, other academic titles, and distinctions of the University.

Mountains of the Moon University is the 10th Public University in Uganda found in Kabarole district that became a Public University effective 1st July 2022 established under The Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act as S.I. No. 2 of 2022 of Parliament of Uganda.

Professor Edward Bitanywaine Rugumayo together with Fr. Albert Byaruhanga, Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire, Justice Seith Manyindo, Hon. Tom Butiime among others mooted the idea that started Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) in 2005. He has been the Chancellor and Chairperson Board of Directors of MMU since 2005 when the University was private and licensed by National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

Who is Prof. Edward Bitanywaine Rugumayo?

Chancellor Edward Rugumayo Bitanywaine is a distinguished scholar and statesman with a wealth of experience spanning many years. He is an academician, botanist, environment expert, a politician by calling, a member of the Gang of Four, and a skilled diplomat.

Prof. Rugumayo served as Education Minister from June 1971 to February 1973 when he became the first Minister of the Regime to resign. He tendered in his resignation letter by telex from Nairobi, telling President Amin he could not serve the Government anymore because it was killing people instead of protecting them. He has never sought the public vote for any elective office and says he has always been called in to help the community whenever there has been a crisis.

When he moved in exile, first to Nairobi in 1973 and then to Zambia (1973-1979), Prof. Rugumayo joined the Network of Ugandan exiles, who were organizing from outside Uganda to oust Amin. He did this activism while also teaching at the University of Zambia. In 1978, he was part of the Moshi Conference which laid a roadmap for Amin’s exit. He attended the Moshi conference as a representative of the group of exiles based in Zambia, along with Hon. Eriya Kategeya. He was elected the Chairman of the National Consultative Council (NCC), which was the Central Governing Body of the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF).

When President Amin was ousted and the NCC moved to Parliamentary Building in Kampala, Prof. Rugumayo in effect became Speaker of Parliament, although he was referred to as Chairman of the National Consultative Council (NCC) and not the speaker.

Prof. Rugumayo was one of the “Gang of Four” – group which was a premier mover of the country’s affairs. The gang of four consisted of Prof. Edward Rugumayo Prof. Omwony Ojwok, Prof. Wadada Nabudere, and Yash Tandon and were dubbed The Gang of Four by former President Godfrey Binaisa on account of being the real people running the country then. Prof. Rugumayo is proud of his time with the UNLF and says the freedom and prosperity that the country enjoys today is a result of UNLF; first for its ridding off the country of Iddi Amin, then for being the only Government that has ever fulfilled its entire mandate. Prof. Rugumayo was recalled to national service in 1995 when President Yoweri Museveni appointed him Uganda’s first High Commissioner to South Africa, where he served for four years.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said before that Prof. Rugumayo is the architect that lured the first batch of South African investors into Uganda a move that was to expand Uganda’s economy over the years as innumerable South African companies set up bases in Uganda. He also endeavored to establish a favorable atmosphere for Ugandans living in South Africa.

In 1999, Prof. Rugumayo was recalled to take charge of the Internal Affairs Ministry as Minister. One year later he moved to Tourism, Trade and Industry Ministry where he served for five years until February 2005. His tenure at the Tourism, Trade and Industry Ministry saw the introduction of the Industrial Research Institute; the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre at Entebbe was also built and he is remembered for taking a firm stand to negotiate favorable conditions for Uganda at the World Trade Association. He retired in 2005 when President Museveni posted him to France. He declined the deployment saying he wanted to stay home after so many years away.

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