Makerere University has elected Lorna Magara as the new Chairperson of the University Council, becoming the very first woman to occupy the position since the university was established in 1922.
Magara, an alumnus of Makerere University where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts with Education will serve until 2022. She replaces Dr Charles Wana-Etyem whose four-year tenure expired recently.
Her election occurred at the inaugural meeting of the new University Council held on Thursday at Makerere University.
Magara also holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Management from Uganda Christian University, Mukono. She will be at the helm of the University governance as the institution marks 100 years in 2020.
The University Council also elected Rt. Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega, the former Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly as Vice Chairperson.
Three representatives of the public to the University in accordance with section 38(1)(n) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act (UOTIA) (2001 as amended) were also elected.
These are Bruce Balaba Kabaasa, Thomas Tayebwa and Daniel Fred Kidega.
The University Council is the supreme organ of Makerere University. The Council is responsible for the overall administration and implementation of the objects and functions of the University.
It is responsible for the direction of the administrative, financial, and academic affairs of the University as well as formulating the general policy of the university.
Council also formulates general guidelines to the administration and academic staff of the University on matters relating to the operations of the University.
Magara’s historic election will go a long way in breaking the gender stereotypes that women’s rights campaigners have always accused Uganda’s oldest institution of higher learning of entrenching. It also comes at a time when the university is faced with criticism for not doing enough to address the sticky issue of sexual harassment against female students.
Many have said that the university Management whose majority is male, has not put enough measures in place to safeguard female students who continue to be victimized sexually.
A report on sexual harassment released in June this year by an adhoc committee led by Prof Sylvia Tamale indicated that the university environment is generally attuned to a patriarchal culture “which stereotypes females as sexual objects”.