The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has commended Prof James Manyenye Ntozi for his outstanding contribution to Makerere University through mentoring many Ugandan and other Africans into professional statisticians and demographers.
The Premier made these remarks while launching a book in honour of Prof James Manyenye Ntozi titled “Demography of Uganda and selected African countries towards more Sustainable Development pathways” at Makerere University main hall on Thursday.
The book honours Prof Ntozi for his scholarly role of taking on the mantle with a few of his other colleagues, to promote analysis of demographic data during the colonial period which saw Uganda and other African countries come of age, at a time when the paucity of data was a real shortcoming.
The book not only focuses on the diversity of scholarly backgrounds, but also focus on the bill of demography as analysed on the triad of fertility, mortality and migration as well as the relationship between population and other facets of development.
Dr Rugunda applauded Makerere University for its good initiative of recognising those who have made enormous selfless service in the university and asked other universities and institutions to emulate it.
He called upon the people to read the book and put it to use as its knowledge and contents will enhance the country’s development if utilised.
“The book is very relevant and speaks directly to the needs our country. I am therefore, very hopeful that the contents of this book am launching today will guide the formulation of policies and strategies to drive Uganda and Ugandans towards the country’s development goals and objectives,” Dr Rugunda said.
In his tribute to Prof Ntozi, a friend he has known for 51 years since their school days at Busoga College Mwiri, the Prime Minister described him as a character who was always involved in activities that propelled the country’s progress and African liberation, citing an example of Pan African Association, which believed in the total liberation of Africa.
He added that it is no wonder that Prof Ntozi has utilized the existing peace to make a remarkable contribution to the country through his publications, which include over 150 scientific publications and public presentations of excellent standard and therefore, asked people to emulate him.
“Professor Ntozi has utilised the peace that has existed in Uganda in the last three decades to make a lot of progress in research and teaching, and if most Ugandans and Africans would make similar contributions, our country and continent would fast track development,” the Premier said.
He however urged Makerere University and other institutions of learning in the country to make use of the various academic scholars even after their retirement as it is the case in other universities in USA and UK, so as to continue gaining from their knowledge and experience for the development and progress of the country.
The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, who is also a friend to Prof Ntozi, commended the latter for his role in the 1980 population census of the country.
He recalled that Prof Ntozi was the commissioner for census in 1980, a time when there was no technology to simplify the population census work as it currently and yet, managed to produce excellent enumeration work during census which formed the basis for the formulation of different policies and decisions including demarcation of places by government.
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu said Makerere University decided to honour Prof Ntozi in recognition of his excellent academic service and contribution to Makerere University, a place where he worked and served for more than four decades in different capacities including being a lecturer, head of department and Dean among others.
“Prof Ntozi, Makerere University thanks you for your diligent service at the institution. As Makerere University, we believe there is no greater way to recognise and reward a distinguished scholar than through a book,” Mr Ddumba said.
Prof Ntozi also received a plaque from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) during the ceremony in recognition of his dedicated service not only to UBOS but also to the college of statistics at Makerere University.
The event brought together a number of people including government officials, ministers, high profile leaders, politicians and international and national old students of Prof Ntozi among others.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA