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Ugandan varsity students shine at EAC debating competition

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Two Ugandan students, Patrick Ssemwogerere, from the Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Mukono, and Ms Lucy Munduru Mega from the International University of East Africa (IUEA), have emerged the best male and female debaters at the just-concluded 5th EAC University students’ debate.

Held under the theme ‘Youth Participation in Electoral Democracy’, the debating competition that brought together hundreds of competitors and concluded with the appointment of the new EAC Youth Ambassadors for next one year, was held at the Kigali Independent University (ULK).

The Vice Chancellor of the Kigali Independent University (ULK), Dr. Ezechiel Sekibibi, congratulates a female student from the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Vice Chancellor of the Kigali Independent University (ULK), Dr. Ezechiel Sekibibi, congratulates a female student from the United Republic of Tanzania.

Addressing the students and guests at a colourful gala dinner and award ceremony, the ULK founder and President Prof. Dr. Rwigamba Balinda, reiterated that debates help train students in critical thinking and creativity ‘which are important for their success in the digital age as well as in knowledge acquisition and development’.

“At national, regional and global levels, debating/communication skills are essential in negotiations and dialogues,” said Prof Balinda.

He challenged the youth to play an active role in promoting the EAC integration agenda by mobilizing, sensitizing and advocating for fellow students and youth through the EAC Youth Ambassadors’ Platform.

“Our commitment and assurance as educators/higher learning institutions is that we shall continue providing you with a conducive environment, guidance and support to make your requisite contribution. We in Rwanda have established debating clubs in universities, secondary schools and held national inter-university and secondary school students’ debates on regional integration annually,” he said.

Speaking during the same occasion, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (DSG) in charge of Political Federation, Mr. Charles Njoroge, said one of the cardinal objectives of the EAC University students’ debate is “building a critical mass of youths as drivers of the integration process” and to spread the gospel of integration among peers and build strong relationships and networks that will solidify the integration process.

The DSG urged Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs in the Partner States and political leaders to support the work of the EAC Youth Ambassadors, who have been selected this year, to effectively promote and implement their integration programmes.

He urged the new and outgoing Ambassadors to continue advocating for the EAC integration so as to sustain their slogan; EAC youth – we move it’.

The Best Debating Team was the Alternative Strategy Team that comprised Patrick Ssemwogerere from Uganda Christian University, Rose Kelly Iribagiza  from the National University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics, David Ndika from University of Dar es Salaam, and Brian Muthuri Kithinji from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya.

Debaters from Burundi were expected but did not show up, while those from South Sudan, which has just joined the Community, are expected to participate in the 6th edition of the Students’ Debate.
The newly appointed EAC Youth Ambassadors and their Deputies for the period 2016/2017 are:

* Rwanda: Ms. Rose Kelly Iribagiza from the National University of Rwanda (Ambassador) and her Deputy is Ms. Yves Rene Uwayo, also from the National University of Rwanda.

* United Republic of Tanzania: Yohana Mayenga from the University of Dar es salaam (Ambassador) and his Deputy is Ms. Suzane W Mollel from Makumira University in Arusha, Tanzania.

* Kenya: Ms. Yvonne Anna Gathoni Muriithi Muthuri from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi (Ambassador) and her Deputy is Brian Muthuri Kithinji from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

* Uganda: Umar Muhumuza from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (Ambassador) and his Deputy is Ms. Samantha Naluyima Agwang from Makerere University in Kampala.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat organized a two-days Training of Trainer’s and an induction workshop for the newly appointed EAC Youth Ambassadors on EAC integration, structures and processes that took place from 2nd to 3rd November 2016, at the Kigali Independent University.

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