Multiple mourners today attended the requiem mass of the fallen ex Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Asavia Wandira at St Francis Chapel at Makerere University.
High profile personalities described the late as very instrumental and appreciated his contribution to the education sector of this country
The Minister of State for Primary Education Rosemary Nansubuga Seninde who represented government and read the speech of education minister and first lady Janet Museveni described late Wandira’s contribution to the education sector towards the country’s development as profound.
“Prof. Wandira was at the helm of Makerere University during the most difficult period in the history of our country,” said Seninde.
“Prof. Wandira also served as commission chairperson of teaching service commission which was transformed into education service commission,” she noted.
“He was very instrumental in the formation of Busoga University as he was the chairperson of its pioneer board. He will be remembered for his eloquence and command of English language. Prof. Wandira’s service distinguishes him as a hero,” she added.
Seninde handed over contributions worth Shs 5 million from the Education Minister Janet Museveni and 20 million shillings from president Museveni.
The deceased’s wife Dr. Theopista Wandira described her late husband as loving and caring man and added that as family they were blessed to have him in their lives.
“He was such a jolly and friendly person. You could not tell that he was angry because he always had a smile on his face.”
“Now that he has gone, my life is empty,” she added.
The widow further described her husband as someone who loved reading and that he could many times forget to take lunch.
“Indeed we have lost a scholar”
She narrated how Wandira passed on.
“Proffesor left unexpectedly because in the theater we talked, took selfies, made fun and the doctors came and told me to leave. I decided to let the doctors do their work. I asked them how long the operation would take and they told me 42 to 45 minutes. Eventually, they told me that his heart had stopped working. That marked the end of his life,” she firmly explained.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe who happens to be “Mwirian” (old student of Busoga College Mwiri) where Wandira attended his secondary School described Wandira’s leadership as exemplary.
“Prof. Wandira’s dedicated service is worth celebrating. He was hard working and his experience in education was recognised beyond the gates of Makerere.”
Proffesor Wandira served under six presidents, Idi Amin, Yusuf Lule, Godfrey Binaisa, Milton Obote, Tito Okello and briefly president Museveni.
His children described him as an amazing person who always had laughter and smile on his face despite the challenges of life.
“We could go to him for counseling. He was very generous and extended his generosity to other people who could not support themselves educationally,” said one of Wandira’s daughters.
The family in unison admitted that he was their inspiration.
“We always looked upon him as a role. That is why all of us have a minimum of Master’s degree,” she revealed.
Other high profile personalities that applauded the late Wandira included Prof. George Kirya who Wandira handed over Makerere University Vice Chancellorship to in 1986, Prof Frank Nabwiso, the former Vice Chancellor Busoga University and their fellow old students of Busoga College Mwiri.
Prof Asavia Wandira passed on Thursday morning at Nakasero hospital where he was receiving treatment.
He died at the age of 86.
A two time Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Wandira served for 11 years in two different intervals (1973 – 1975, 1979 – 1986).
With 11 years at the helm of Uganda’s most prestigious institution of higher learning, Wandira is the second longest head of the institution after Sir Benard de Bunsen who served as principal for 13 years (1950 – 1963).
He served his first tenure as Vice Chancellor from 1972 to 1975 after which he left Uganda. He served as Dean Faculty of education at the University of Swaziland.
On return to Uganda, he was named minister of education in 1979. Thereafter, he was appointed Vice Chancellor up to 1986.
Prof Wandira was a commissioner on the constitution review commission that sought people’s views on the 2005 constitutional amendments.
He was a teacher at Busoga College Mwiri.
He was High education officer in the ministry of education after program of Africanization.
He was a Chancellor at Busoga College Mwiri.
He was board chair of inter University council of East Africa between 1980 – 1986.
He was the executive member of UNESCO between 1987 and 1991.
He was a member of inter religious council Elders Forum.
He was chairperson board of directors, Board of Governors at Busoga University.