Makerere University in Uganda has defended the decision to honor Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto with a leadership institute.
Makerere, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa, faced heavy criticism with scholars such as US-based Kenyan lawyer Prof. Makau Mutua questioning what DP Ruto has done for the continent and/or East Africa to deserve such an honor.
“A William Ruto Leadership Institute Makerere University is the most absurd and utterly inconceivable blunder in the history of higher education in Africa. Today Makerere University is the laughing stock of the world. I expect students, faculty, and staff to quickly erase this abomination. Now,” Prof. Makau wrote on Twitter.
Responding to the criticism, Makerere University stated that the leadership institute was not an academic award but a rare initiative by a political leader to support African indigenous scholarship.
“William Ruto’s initiative should be commended by all patriotic African elites and not condemned out of apparent misconception. Makerere awaits the implementation of yet another initiative by another great Kenyan leader, Mwai Kibaki, which he launched four years ago,” the University said.
The institute, named William Ruto Institute of African and Leadership Studies, aims at developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning about Africa and enhancing and enriching intellectual and cultural life, according to a brief on the university’s website. It will also be used to strengthen relationships between academic and indigenous intellectuals as the basis for reclaiming indigenous knowledge and integrate this into local communities.
DP Ruto laid a foundation stone for the institute at the university’s main campus in Kampala on Saturday, December 21st.