The Makerere University Vice Chancellor Search Committee has confirmed that four candidates have applied for the job by close of the application deadline on Monday.
Makerere University is the pioneer university in the country. Once regarded as the Harvard of Africa due to its academic and research excellence, Makerere University has in recent times been struggling to maintain its past glory.
As this paper has established, the four include former vice chancellor (at the university) Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe (current deputy vice chancellor for Finance and Administration), Prof Edward Kirumira (Principal of College of Humanities and Social Sciences), and Prof Wasswa Balunywa (current Principal of Makerere University Business School).
Therefore, if this were a field race, all the four candidates have the potential to reach the finishing line with equal momentum and at the same time.
But this is where the problem begins. Both current and former vice chancellors at the institution, to their credit, have not been of lesser valour and papers.
Trouble, is the university seems to have slowly but steadily lost the direction on how to steer the highest institution of learning to regain its past glory.
The university today is overwhelmed by the numerous challenges: First, how will the next leadership bring to an end the numerous strikes at the institution? How did this great university descend to a level where if it is not members of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) striking, then it will be students demonstrating over tuition, bad food, etc.
Next, would be the support staff whose downing of tools often brings the university to its worst state. And the circle continues.
There is also the issue of financial fog. While many private students and they are the majority, pay tuition every semester, often the poor services delivery at the university does not seem to reflect this.
How much money does the university actually collect from privately-sponsored students? There is also need to ascertain the number of students at the university. There is need for proper accountability here.
As call upon the search committee to ensure the best applicant is picked for the job, it should not be lost to them that their work is well cut out for them.