The 5th EAC University students’ debate, themed “Youth Participation in Electoral Democracy”, has concluded at the prestigious Kigali Independent University (ULK), with the appointment of the new EAC Youth Ambassadors for next one year.
Addressing the students and guests at a colourful gala dinner and award ceremony, the Founder and President of Kigali Independent University, Prof. Dr. Rwigamba Balinda, reiterated that debates 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.
Prof. Dr. Balinda said that debating enhances an individual’s communication skills and encourages research, adding that it also inculcates the culture of agreeing to disagree in addition to promoting tolerance and peaceful co-existence in the society.
The Vice Chancellor of the Kigali Independent University (ULK), Dr. Ezechiel Sekibibi, congratulates a female student from the United Republic of Tanzania.
“At national, regional and global levels, debating/communication skills are essential in negotiations and dialogues,” said the scholar.
The ULK President 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,” said Prof. Balinda.
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 Vice Chancellor of the Kigali Independent University Dr, Ezechiel Sekibibi hands over a certifi cate to Muhumuza Umar from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (the new EAC Youth Ambassador for Uganda).
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.
“These include but are not limited to mobilization, sensitization and information sharing with their peers,” said Mr. Njoroge.
He said the 5th Debate was a transition that marks the end of term for the EAC Youth Ambassadors for 2015/2016, but also ushers in the beginning of a new term for the new EAC Ambassadors for 2016/2017.
He urged the new and outgoing Ambassadors to continue being proactive and advocating for the EAC integration in whatever they do so as to sustain their slogan; “EAC Youth – We move it.”
At the end of the debate, Mr. Patrick Ssemwogerere, from the Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Uganda emerged the Best Male Debater, while the Best Female Debater was Ms. Munduru Lucy Mega, from the International University of East Africa in Kampala, Uganda.
The Best Debating Team was the Alternative Strategy Team that comprised Patrick Ssemwogerere from Uganda Christian University, Iribagiza Rose Kelly from National University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics, David Ndika from University of Dar es Salaam, and Muthuri Brian Kithinji from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya.
The newly appointed EAC Youth Ambassadors and their Deputies for the period 2016/2017 are as follows:
* Rwanda: Ms. Iribagiza Rose Kelly 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 Muthuri Brian Kithinji from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
* Uganda: Muhumuza Umar from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (Ambassador) and his Deputy is Ms. Naluyima Agwang Samantha from Makerere University in Kampala
University Students Debaters from the Republic of Burundi were expected but did not show up. The Republic of South Sudan that has just joined the Community is expected to participate in the 6th edition of the Students’ Debate.
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.