By Dr. Deus Kamunyu

We nurture for society and negative rewards alone are counterproductive

We are a democracy and a growing one. Democracy has its known pains of growth and these pains should never force us to backtrack. Universities were commissioned as universal spaces for freedom of thought. They are breweries of potent ideas on which humanity is rallied for development characterised by social, economic and political progress.

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In a PanAfrican University like Makerere University, young people are understood to be like seedlings being nurtured and watered for a later day grand transplant to society that is needy in every area. They must be subjected to the best practices of leadership, norms and behaviours in every area by those who occupy legitimate authority to do so. Professors must challenge them to connect among themselves to learn to conduct meaningful constructions and deconstructions of the real world they live in. To enable them get ready to face the imperfect world out there. Aware that they originally came into the universal space with all the imperfections of the world around them, our duty is to ensure that they leave the space as useful campuses of greater society. We cannot dare judge them harshly because in some ways, they are a reflection of our failures.

Yesterday I had a chance to engage in a discussion on the invitation of The Mak Bench aimed at finding ways of ending violence at Makerere University. I insisted that Mak must take its place as a space of free thought and not escape from it for sake of management convenience. Regardless of all pain, we must get to the root causes of violence and not fight symptoms or even posture to be providing solutions using draconian tools.

Leadership is key in enabling these young people to develop a non violent culture. Students should return to meaningful intergroup social contacts that will enable them learn to question without engaging into fights. We should nurture total self leadership and enter pacts and pledges of non violence with them. This is both our responsibility and theirs too. Let our students debate freely on the affairs of their university, country and world. Don’t burn spaces that enable them learn to do this and instead focus on enriching their experiences. Engage with them meaningfully and never give up on that. Let them know for sure the consequences of a violet culture and be the last to deploy the management instruments that they perceive as provocative and violent. Remember these are young adults.

If the young are not enabled to burn their free thought energy while at the University and in a society seeking to deepen democracy, they will take their raw unused energy to society. This time and with negative consequences, they will do so without any form of guidance. We have the blessings to guide them.

Thank you Mak Bench for leveraging on technology to allow debates and learning at Mak. You can only get better.

Dr. Kamunyu #mythoughtsfortoday

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