What has taken place recently at the Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISR), to say the least, disgusting. A research/lecturer don, Dr. Stella Nyanzi, to express her intellectual disagreement with her boss, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, decided to go basically on a nudism spree in front of students outside her office.
It maybe that she had a genuine grievance about the work she was assigned in the conduct of her duties: that instead of a lectureship duty she had to take on a research function, which she regarded demeaning to her academic excellence. But it was not understandable that she would take six whole years to have her displeasure unknown and aired and then display it in that manner.
Also, that the chancellor of Makerere University, Dr. Ezra Suruma, then woke up to realize that there had been a problem and subsequently upbraid the director of the institute over the matter. The other aside to this matter was the welcome intervention of the Minister of State for Ethics, (Fr.) Simon Lokodo, to weigh in on the issue to require a legal rendering of the subject.
Makerere University is a center of learning and instruction; of getting young men and women to polish their character and prepare them to take on the various responsibilities to move the country forward towards development and betterment of their lives and the lives of the people of the country. As such, in their academic pursuits, they are supposed to be led into intellectual pursuits that reflect the best to lead them to these achievements.
That is what it is supposed to be, or at least, what Makerere stood for in the good old days. Instead of building on those pursuits, Makerere has gone down the drain in almost all its endeavours, to be now a side show and a disfigured image of its former self.
I cannot imagine what notion the academic luminaries of those excellent years would made out of this. Think of what Ali Mazrui, Margaret McPherson, J.B. Webster, Kalimuzo, and the rest of that generation of scholars and administrators would have considered such an act that Nyanzi performed, as.
In her intellectual pursuits, and within such a vaunted institution as MISR, Nyanzi should have given a considered thought of what her action would amount to. Nudity would never have been an intellectual alternative that could have arisen to solving her problem.
Various meetings with the university administration, and even the Ministry of Education, would have gone a long way to solving her problem. In any case, if all else had failed in that direction, she could have resigned and applied to other global universities to continue he career, unless, of course, she has bicupuli academic qualifications, as is common with the Makerere University of these hopeless days.
By all accounts stripping naked publicly in the precincts of an institution of learning is neither intellectual, administrative, nor academic; it is dastardly. It could only have been done in the School of Art towards inculcating the pursuits of drawing, painting or sculpture. Nyanzi was not in that consideration, and when she stripped, she was not a subject of artistic design.
Now, the fallout from this nudist game is the promise by Mamdani that he is not averse to leaving MISR and Makerere, if the decision he took is misunderstood. Without going into the merits or demerits of his action, it is worth noting that Mamdani is a scholar of global acceptance and many universities in the world would be happy to snap him to bolster their resume. Indeed, they would be now praying that he takes the decision to quit Makerere. It is incumbent upon the university to stop and reverse this slide.
Lokodo should, therefore, continue his efforts to restore morality and recognition of the institution to what it is meant for. Makerere should not be turned into a striptease club where the mundane and pornographic deviants would like to pose and ogle.
It is now commonly known that the county has lost its moral direction and is now a haven of the corrupt and the people whose interests are very different from those of doing the good of the nation and citizens. But where there is a modicum of respect and an inkling to get the country to follow the path of morality and patriotism, every effort should be put to nurturing that spirit, not either corrupting, or regarding that it is all right to proceed in that bestial direction.