Dr. Fred Masagazi Masaazi (FMM) is a known name in the Buganda Kingdom circles, in education and in areas of African Language development. He served the kingdom of Buganda for many years in different capacities. He once served as Minister of Education and Sports and currently he is under special assignment to advise the Kingdom on matters of the Luganda Language. He is also serving Makerere University as the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies. BugandaWatch was fortunate enough to get an exclusive interview with him and it went as follows:
BW: Ow’ekitiibwa, thank you for accepting to share some information about yourself and your service to Kabaka with our readers.
FMM: It is my pleasure too.
BW: First, please tell us about yourself and your background.
FMM: Fred Masagazi Masaazi is my name and I belong to the Ngabi Clan of Buwanda Mawokota. The late Eneriko Kasozi is my father. My mother is Maliserina Kasozi Kabejja wa Taata. I come from Mawokota County. Born in a rural village, Buwama on Masaka–Kampala highway, in a family of 6 children. All boys! A background of a male-dominated family shaped my character and the way I look at things. My father had a stroke and was paralyzed for over 10 years. He was unable to work at the time I was joining P1 in 1973 and my mother was fully responsible for all my education and the general welfare of the family.
BW: You are well known as a scholar and educator, reaching the lever of an Associate Professor at Makerere University. Briefly tell us about your educational background.
FMM: I started my education journey at St Aloysius Primary School in
Mitala Maria, Mawokota County, which is a 2 kilometer (1.2 mile) walk from Buwama Village. I later attended Old Kampala Secondary School and Kampala Tutorial College to prepare for the Ordinary Level school examinations. Thereafter, I joined Kampala High School for my Advanced Level high school certificate.
I was admitted to Makerere University in 1987 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in degree majoring in English, Luganda and Linguistics. In 1990 I earned my first degree. The same year I enrolled for a Postgraduate professional Diploma in Education, qualifying me to teach English and Luganda languages in secondary schools.
I did part-time teaching of Luganda in many schools when I was pursuing my undergraduate degree. At the time, there was a shortage of qualified Luganda teachers, since an insufficient number of students had pursued Luganda language teaching qualifications. Because of a long-term interest in developing Luganda language, I, together with Matovu Joy, Sam Baleke, Kizza-Mukasa, Paul Kitooke and Dan Kyagaba, spearheaded the formation of the Luganda Teachers Association (LTA) in 2000, to unite Luganda teachers in different schools. I think one could say that it is a pioneer association of a joined force of teachers to be formed during our days. LTA is a popular association in the country today with a membership of over 700 registered members.
In 1992 I was among the first 3 students to enroll in a new Master of Arts in African Language specializing in Luganda. The others are now Dr. Jackson Kizza Mukasa and Mr. Aloysious Matovu Joy, a renowned actor and Luganda books writer. In 2004, I was the first person ever to earn a PhD in Luganda Language education. I am happy say that I have been able to contribute to the development of the Luganda language and building capacity for teachers and researchers in the Luganda language. Today, several people get graduate degrees in Luganda every year, including at PhD level. Almost the majority of people winning Entanda ya Buganda Luganda organized by CBS radio station are my former students.
BW: Who inspired you most to excel in the field of Luganda language education?
FMM: I must thank veteran educator Professor Livingstone Walusimbi for his contribution towards Luganda language development. We have reached this far because of his tireless contribution in this area. I also recognize the contributions of the late Dr. M. B. Nsimbi and the late Dr. Kasalina Matovu for respectively contributing to the development of Luganda language in the academic and literary fields.
BW: Earlier you said that right after graduation you taught Luganda part-time. How about the rest your work experience?
FMM: After graduation, I also started as a teaching assistant in the Department of Language Education, School of Education under the direct supervision of the late Mrs. Rhoda Nsibambi and Professor J.C. Ssekamwa, Head of department and Dean respectively. After proving myself, I was appointed Lecturer. After 3 years in that position, the university appreciated my work and I was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of the Language Department Makerere University School of Education.
Between 2009 and 2012, I served as Dean of the School of Education and in 2012, I became the Principal School of the College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University the position I hold today.
BW: When did you joined Mengo?
FMM: I joined Mengo in 1995, serving under Dr. John Chrysestom Muyingo in the Ministry of Education. My position was Deputy Secretary for the Buganda Education Commission, which was charged with giving technical advice to the ministry.
BW: And when did you become the Buganda education minister?
FMM: When Mr. Emmanuel Ssendaula became the Acting Katikkiro of Buganda, I was appointed State Minister for Education and later became the substantive Education Minister under Eng. J. B. Walusimbi as Katikkiro.
BW: What are some of the achievements during your term as the substantive Minister for Education and Sports?
FMM: Many unprivileged students from humble backgrounds in Buganda got financial aid from the Kabaka Education Fund, allowing them to undertake studies at levels ranging from primary school to university degrees. The numbers increased from hundreds to tens of thousands!
I also led the establishment of the Mengo campus of the Buganda Royal Institute for Business and Technical Education. This institute was initially proposed to be a unit under Muteesa I Royal University but I pushed for it to become an independent business and technical school. Although many people opposed the idea at the time, I am happy the institute is doing very well in fighting unemployment among the youth because its graduates have practical skills. And it generates income for the Kingdom.
I worked with Mr. Kibuuka who was the chairperson Buganda Education Commission to develop a proposal for a fully-fledged Buganda education system from primary school through university levels. The concept was presented to the Minister and passed by the Buganda cabinet.
The current Buganda Government owned schools were established because of that arrangement. I commend Dr. Muyingo who was our minister for supporting and implementing those ideas. A University and a tertiary institution are in place, together with secondary and primary schools.
BW: What are your best memories at Mengo?
FMM: I served on the organizing committee of the Kabaka’s wedding. I also chaired organizing committees and led execution of two major Kabaka events – a Coronation anniversary and a Birthday celebration, respectively. All in all, I am very grateful for the opportunity the Kabaka gave me to serve in different capacities and happy with the overall experience I got there.
BW: Last question. Outside of office and teaching activities, what do you enjoy doing?
FMM: I like supervising or doing work on my private farm. I spend time with my children at our farm house in the village, most especially during weekends and holidays. I also like reading books and listening to Kandongokamu (Luganda country music).
Ssaabasajja Kabaka Awangaale.