Mak Holdings Ltd New Board Inaugurated Upon a Firm Foundation

Mak Holdings Ltd New Board Inaugurated Upon a Firm Foundation

“We know that ultimately you are the land Lord, Your word has said that ‘the earth is Mine and everything that is within it,’ and our role is to be good stewards of the resources that You have given us” prayed Rev. Can. Onesimus Asiimwe as he opened the handover ceremony with prayer.

“So bless them, use them Lord to bring into fruition the plans, the prospects that will bring development to this great university,” echoed the Chaplain’s prayer across in the cavernous Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF 2) auditorium, where a select few had gathered to witness the handover of the Outgoing and inauguration of the New Board of the Makerere University Holdings Limited (Mak Holdings).

The ceremony, also streamed live to a virtual audience across various platforms on 9th September 2021 was presided over by the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara and graced by Members of Council, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba, Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Dr. Josephine Nabukenya and members of Management.

“On behalf of Management, I would like to thank the Outgoing Board led by Mr. Charles Mbire, for the firm foundation on which the Incoming Board will surely build,” lauded Prof. Nawangwe in his welcome remarks. Mak Holdings was set up by the University Council in June 2014 to improve both the University’s financial position and the nature and extent of services offered to students, personnel and the general public. The first board was inaugurated on 31st August 2014.

The Vice Chancellor reiterated that Makerere has an objective to become a research-led university while decreasing her dependence on the national coffers. He therefore thanked the Outgoing Board for their selfless service to Makerere University in a bid to achieve this objective.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked the Outgoing Board for laying a firm foundation upon which the Incoming Board would build.

In recognition of their exemplary service, the Chairperson of Council presented certificates of appreciation and plaques to Mr. Charles Mbire (Chairperson), Dr. Ruth Biyinzika Musoke, Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga, Dr. Winifred Tarinyeba-Kiryabwire (in absentia), Mr. Dan Kasirye (in absentia), Mr. Charles Ocici and Prof. William Bazeyo (in absentia).

“I thank you on behalf of the other Members of the Board of Makerere University Holdings Limited for the trust you gave us to serve our two terms, to steer a newborn baby called Makerere University Holdings Company,” acknowledged Mr. Mbire in his handover speech.

Using the analogy of a midwife and the important role she/he plays when a baby is being born into this world, Mr. Mbire shared that the Outgoing Board Members had sacrificed a lot of their time, effort and applied their expertise to try and get the newborn baby to start walking, and possibly start running.

“From a business angle, you have one of the best assets I can assure you” addressed Mr. Mbire to Members of Council and Management. “You actually do not need much from the Central Government; if you worked around this asset, you would be a self-sustaining university and I beg you and the New Board to work so much towards that” he added.

To inspire the Incoming Board he termed as ‘very capable’, Mr. Mbire shared two departing remarks, “picture yourself with a letter calling you to a committee to explain where the public money of 47 million shareholders has gone” and “eyes on, but hands off. That’s the function of a board”.

The Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara (R) hands over a token of appreciation to Chairman of the Inaugural Board of Mak Holdings, Mr. Charles Mbire during the ceremony on 9th September 2021.

With the audience’s curiosity sufficiently piqued, it was time for Dr. Josephine Nabukenya to present the profiles of the very capable New Board Members of Mak Holdings. The seven (7) member Mak Holdings Board is composed of four (4) external members and three (3) internal members from Makerere University.

Mr. Christopher K. Musoke (Chairman) is an inclusive financial sector specialist with a wealth of experience in financial management, business management, project management, corporate governance and financial sector development spanning more than two decades.

Dr. Godrey Akileng (Makerere) holds a PhD in Accounting of the National University of Ireland at the University of Cork, a Master of Science, Accounting and Finance and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) of Makerere University. He is currently the Dean of the School of Business and Chair of the School Board and its committees at the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS). Prior to that, he was Head, Department of Accounting and Finance. He has taught and mentored many students and colleagues, some of whom currently occupy high offices in both public and private sectors in Uganda and Internationally.

Dr. Ruth Biyinzika Musoke is an experienced Private Sector Development expert holding a Doctor of Business Administration; Honoris Causa (DBA) Specialist in Project Management from Commonwealth University, an MBA specializing in SME Development and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). She has more than 10 years of proven working experience as a Programme Manager designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating projects and programmes as well as providing technical advice to multi-sectoral development projects, including agribusiness, education, manufacturing targeting the corporate and SME sector in both urban and rural development. Ruth has worked extensively on large and complex development programmes in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana for international donor organizations including WB, DFID, EU, ADB and USAID.

Mrs. Judy Rugasira Kyanda is a commercially and technically savvy property professional with over 25 years’ experience in the East African, and the United Kingdom Real Estate markets. Mrs. Kyanda is a result oriented and highly driven individual with proven leadership skills, who is able to deliver results through the development and motivation of teams. She fully understands the value and importance of integrity and accountability in the business environment and uncompromisingly drives her team to go the extra mile to exceed clients’ expectations.

The Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Dr. Josephine Nabukenya presented the profiles of the New Board Members.

Mrs. Priscilla Mirembe Serukka is an experienced Leader and Manager with a Masters Degree in Management. She is an effective team builder with experience in leading dynamic-results-based International organizations. For 15 years, she led an International NGO intervening in 5 East African countries. She also posses 21 years’ experience in building successful investment portfolios and effective funds management.

Assoc. Prof. Ireeta Tumps Winston (Makerere) is a down to earth academic, researcher in optical fiber communication and loves passing on knowledge to others especially his students. He has supervised over 25 MSc. and PhD students and published over 30 peer reviewed journal papers. Assoc. Prof. Ireeta holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics and Mathematics from Makerere University, a Master of Science Degree in Physics (Electro-Optics) from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway and a PhD in Physics (Optical Fiber Communication) from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  

Prof. William Bazeyo (Makerere) is a Uganda Physician, Academician and a Professor of Occupational Medicine at Makerere University. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degree (MB ChB) Makerere University, a Master of Medicine Degree (Occupational Health) (M Med OM) National University of Singapore, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Atlantic International University and a Doctor of Science (Honorary Degree) from Tufts University. Prof. Bazeyo also obtained a certificate in Authentic Leadership Development from Harvard Business School. Currently, he acts as Head of Grants Administration, Management and Support Unit (GAMSU) of Makerere University.

Prior to inaugurating the New Board Members, the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara expressed her deep appreciation of the work that the Outgoing Members had done to bring Mak Holdings to its current state.

 “As the Inaugural Board of Makerere Holdings, you took up the responsibility of steering the company before it attained the proof of concept, and when it was debatable whether a holding company was a workable idea for a university. You built the foundation that has got us where we are today, for this we cannot thank you enough” said Mrs. Magara.

The Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara (L) presents a certificate of appreciation to Dr. Gorettie Nsubuga Nabanoga (R), one of the Inaugural Board Members of Mak Holdings.

Carrying forward Mr. Mbire’s analogy of the Inaugural Board’s role as midwife, she added, “You are the parent of this Makerere Holdings and when a parent has delivered a child, they do not leave that child in hospital. They work and nurture and train that child to adulthood and so we are trusting that you will still be available for us to come back to you for consultation and guidance.”

Mrs. Magara warmly welcomed the New Board Chairperson and Members, and thanked them for accepting to serve Makerere University. “An excellent team can only succeed a great team; you are standing on the shoulders of those that have gone before you and so we look forward to a great journey that lies ahead of you. We have all the faith that you will open new frontiers and scale new heights” she added.

The Chairperson noted that although Makerere as the pioneer is still testing the concept of holding companies in Ugandan universities, the Council has great expectations of and confidence in Mak Holdings. “The assets in this university present incredible opportunity to not only provide finances to manage this institution but also provide resources that can reach out to the communities around and make a difference.”

She added that Mak Holdings with the support of Council has the potential to convert the University’s land as well as the Intellectual and other properties to generate the needed revenue to finance her ten year strategic plan as approved in 2020.

“The University Council pledges utmost support to Mak Holdings. Over the last couple of months, we have strengthened the framework conditions in which the company will operate; the University’s Investment Policy has been revised and the reporting relations between Mak Holdings and other University organs have been streamlined” reassured Mrs. Magara before announcing, “It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare the New Board of Directors of Makerere University Holdings inaugurated.”

The Chairman of the Mak Holdings Board of Directors, Mr. Christopher K. Musoke delivers his acceptance speech.

Delivering his acceptance remarks, the Chairman Board of Directors Mak Holdings Mr. Christopher K. Musoke thanked the Outgoing Board for laying a foundation upon which they could now build. “I know a little bit about building and if the foundation is not right, whatever you do above ground is a waste of time; something will break.”

Turning to his New Board Members, Mr. Musoke thanked them all for heeding the call to serve, particularly those that had accepted to stay on from the previous term, noting that this would give continuity. He acknowledged that although the New Board had high expectations to meet, he confessed “I believe with God, all things are possible.”

Mr. Musoke noted that although the new normal occasioned by COVID-19 poses a few challenges to the work environment, new and exciting innovations were causing their fair share of disruptions too. “Let us not ignore this. Things are being done differently now because of technology and we must be alert and aware as Makerere Holdings of how we can take advantage of these paradigm shifts.”

“By the grace of God we will triumph and indeed, we will be able to Build for the future” concluded Mr. Musoke.

Please click the embedded video below to view the proceedings